tv Presidential Debates 1984 Presidential Debate - Ronald Reagan Walter... CSPAN April 30, 2021 9:20pm-10:50pm EDT
we continue to look at the life of walter mondale who died recently. he ran against incumbent president ronald reagan. here is her their second and debate held in kansas stity moshgs month, where they took questions on defense and foreign policy issues. the republican ticket went ton defeat mr. mondale and i had running mate in the general election. >> good evening. good evening for from kansas city. i am dorothy rady, the president of league of women voters, the sponsor of this final
presidential debate of the 1984 campaign between republican ronald reagan and democrat walter mondale. our panelists for tonight's debate on defense and foreign policy issues are georgie anne geyer, syndicated columnist for universal press syndicate. marvin kalb, chief diplomatic correspondent for nbc news. morton kondracke, executive editor of "the new republic" magazine, and henry trewhitt, diplomatic correspondent for the "baltimore sun." edwin newman, formerly of nbc news and now a syndicated columnist for king features, is our moderator. ed? >> dorothy ridings, thank you. a brief word about our procedure tonight. the first question will go to mr. mondale.
he'll have 2 1/2 minutes to reply. then the panel member who put the question will ask the follow-up. the answer to that will be limited to one minute. after that, the same question will be put to president reagan. again there will be a follow-up, and then each man will have one minute for rebuttal. the second question is going go to president reagan first. after that, the alternating will continue. at the end there will be four-minute summations with president reagan going last. we have asked the questioners to be brief. let's begin. mrs. geyer, your question to mr. mondale. >> mr. mondale, two related questions. the crucial issue of central america. you have said that the only policy toward the civil wars in central america should be on the economic development and negotiations. do you believe that these answers would in any way solve the bitter conflicts there? do believe that there's no need to resort to force at all or not
the solutions to knowing the problems and simply again too weak and too late? >> i believe the question oversimplifies the difficulties of what we must do in central america. our objection must be to strengthen democracies and stop the communism and other influence and stabilize the community in that area. to do that, we need a three-pronged attack. secondly, a strong and sophisticated economic aid program and human rights program that offers a better life and a sharper alternative to the alternative offered by the totalitarians who oppose us. and finally, a strong diplomatic effort that pursues the possibilities of peace in the area. that's one of the big
disagreements we have with the president. that they have not pursued the diplomatic opportunities, either within el salvador or as between the countries and have lost time during which we might have been able to achieve peace. this brings up the whole question of what presidential leadership is all about. i think the lesson in central america, this recent embarrassment in nicaragua, where we are giving instructions for hired assassins, hiring criminals and the rest. all of this has strengthened our opponents. a president must not only assure that we're tough, but we must also be wise and smart in the exercise of that power. we saw the same thing in lebanon
where we spent a good deal of america's assets. because the leadership of this government did not pursue wise policies, we have been humiliated and our opponents are stronger. the bottom line of national strength is that the president must be in command. he must lead. and when a president doesn't know that submarine missiles are recallable, says that 70% of our strategic forces are conventional, discovers three years into his administration that our arms control efforts have failed, because he didn't know that most soviet missiles were on land, these are things a
president must know to command. a president is called the commander in chief, and these called that because he's supposed to be in charge of the facts and run our government and strengthen our nation. >> mr. mondale, if i could broaden the question just a little bit. since world war ii, every conflict that we as americans have been involved with has been in nonconventional or irregular terms. and yet we keep fighting in conventional military terms. the central american wars are very much in the same pattern as china, lebanon, iran and cuba in the early days. do you see any possibility that we are going to realize the change in warfare in our time or react to it in those terms? >> we absolutely must, which is why i responded to your first question the way i did. it's much more complex. we must understand the region. you must understand the politics of the area. you must provide a strong alternative and you must show strength and all at the same time. that's why i object to the covert action in nicaragua. that's embarrassed us, strengthened our opposition and
undermined the moral authority of our people and our country in the region. strength requires knowledge, command. we've seen in the nicaraguan example a policy that's hurt us, strengthened our opposition and undermined the moral authority in that region. >> mr. president, in the last few months, it has seemed more and more that your policies in central america were beginning to work. yet just at this moment we are confronted with the extraordinary story of a cia guerrilla manual for the contras whom we are backing which advocates assassinations of sandinistas in order to create martyrs. is this not in effect our own state-support terrorism? >> no, and i'm glad you asked that question because i know
it's on many people's minds. i've ordered an investigation. i know that the cia is already going forward with one. we have a gentleman down in nicaragua who is on contract to the cia advising supposedly on military tactics the contras. and he drew up this manual. it was turned over to the agency head in -- of the cia in nicaragua to be printed. and a number of pages were excised by that agency head there the man in charge. and he sent it on up here to cia where more pages were excised before it was printed. some way or other there were 12 of the original copies that got out down there and were not submitted for this printing process by the cia. now those are the details as we have them. as soon as we have an investigation and find out where any blame lies for the few that
did not get excised or changed, we certainly are going to do something about that. we'll take the proper action at the proper time. i was very interested to hear about central america and our process down there. and i thought for a moment that instead of a debate, i was going to find mr. mondale in complete agreement with what we're doing because the plan he's outlined is the one we've been following for quite some time, including diplomatic processes throughout central america. and working closely with the contadora group. so i can only tell you about the manual that we're not in the habit of assigning guilt before there has been proper evidence produced and proof of that guilt, but if guilt is established, whoever is guilty, we will treat with that situation then, and they will be removed. >> mr. president, you are implying then that the cia in nicaragua is directing the
contras there. i'd also like to ask whether having the cia investigate its own manual in such a sensitive area is not sort of like sending the fox into the chicken coop a second time. >> i'm afraid i misspoke when i said a cia in nicaragua. there's not someone there directing all this activity. there are cia men stationed in other countries in the world and certainly in central america. and so it was a man down there in that area that this was delivered to. and he recognized that what was in that manual was direct contravention of my own executive order in december of 1981 that we would have nothing to do with regard to political assassinations. >> mr. mondale, your rebuttal? >> what is a president charged with doing when he takes his oath of office? he raises his right hand and takes an oath of office to take care, to faithfully execute the laws of the land. the president can't know everything, but a president has to know those things that are essential to his leadership and the enforcement of our laws.
this manual, several thousands of which were produced, was distributed ordering political assassinations, hiring of criminals and other forms of terrorism. some of it was excised but the part dealing with political terrorism was continued. how can this happen? how can something this serious occur in an administration and have a president of the united states in a situation like this is a he didn't know. a president must know these things. i don't know which is worse. not knowing or knowing and not stopping it. and what about the mining of the harbors in nicaragua which violated international law. this has hurt this country and a president is supposed to
command. >> mr. president, your rebuttal. >> yes, i have so many things there to respond, to i'm going to pick out something you said earlier. you have been all over the country repeating something that i will admit the press has also been repeating that i believed that nuclear missiles could be fired and then call back. i never, ever conceived of such a thing. i never said such a thing. in our discussion of our strategic arms negotiations, i said submarines carry missiles and airplanes carry missiles were more conventional type weapons, not as destabilizing as the land-based missiles and that they were also weapons that were -- or carriers that if they were sent out and there was a
change you could call them back before they had launched their missiles. but i hope that from here on, you will no longer be saying that particular thing which is absolutely false. how anyone could think any sane person would think you could call back a nuclear missile i think is as ridiculous as the whole concept has been. so thank you for giving me a chance to straighten the record on that. i'm sure you appreciate that. >> mr. kalb? mr. kalb, your question to president reagan. >> mr. president, you have often described the soviet union as a powerful evil empire intent on world domination. this year you've said if they want to keep their mickey mouse system, that's okay with me. which is it, mr. president? do you want to contain them within their present borders and perhaps try to re-establish detente, or what goes for detente, or do you really want to roll back their empire? >> i have said on a number of occasions exactly what i believe about the soviet union. i retract nothing that i said. i believe many of the things they have done are evil in any concepts of morality that we have. but i also recognize that as the two great superpowers in the world, we have to live with each other.
and i told mr. gromyko, we don't like their system. they don't like ours. we're not going to change our system and they sure better not try to change ours. but between us, we can either destroy the world, or we can save it. and i suggested that certainly it was to their common interest along with ours to avoid a conflict and to attempt to save the world and remove the nuclear weapons. and i think that perhaps we established a little better understanding. i think in dealing with the soviet union, one has been realistic. mr. mondale has made statements in the past as if they were just people like ourselves and if we were kind and good and did something nice, they would respond accordingly. and the result was unilateral
disarmament. we cancelled the b-1 under the previous administration. what did we get for it? nothing. the soviet union has been engaged in the biggest military build-up in the history of man. at the same time that we tried the policy of unilateral disarmament. of weakness, if you will. and now we are putting up a defense of our own, and i made it very plain to them. we seek no superiority. we simply are going to provide a deterrent so that it will be too costly for them if they're nurse anything ideas of aggression against us. now they claim they're not. and i made it plain to them, we're not. but this -- there's been no change in my attitude at all. i just thought when i came into office it was time that there was some realistic talk to and about the soviet union. and we did get their attention. >> mr. president, perhaps the other side of the coin, a related question, sir. since world war ii, the vital interests of the united states have always been defined by
treaty commitments and by presidential proclamations. aside from what is obvious, such as nato, for example, which countries, which regions in the world do you regard as vital national interests of this country, meaning that you'd send american troops to fight there if they were in danger? >> now you've added a hypothetical there at the end about where we'd send troops in to fight. i am not going to make the decision as to what the tactics could be but, obviously there are a number of areas in the world of importance to us. one is the middle east. and that is of interest to the whole western world and the industrialized nations because of the great supply of energy on which so many depend there. our neighbors here in america are vital to us. we are working right now and trying to be of help in southern africa with regard to the independence of namibia and the removal of the cuban surrogates, the thousands of them, from angola. so i can say there are a great many -- i believe we have a
great interest in the pacific basin. that is where i think the future of the world lies. but i am not going to pick out one and advance hypothetically, oh, y we would send troops there. >> i'm sorry, mr. president. sorry. your time was up. >> mr. mondale, you have described the soviet leaders as cynical, ruthless and dangerous, suggesting an almost total lack of trust in them. in that case, what makes you think that the annual summit meetings with them that's you proposed will result in agreements that would satisfy the interests of this country? >> because the only type of agreements to reach with the soviet union are the types that are specifically defined so we know what they must do. subject to whole verification which means we know every day whether they're leading up to it and follow-ups wherever we find suggestions they're violating it and the strongest possible terms. i have no illusions about the soviet union leadership or the nature of that state. they are a tough and a ruthless adversary and we must be
prepared to meet that challenge, and i would. where i part with the president is that despite all of those differences, we must, as past presidents before this one have done, meet on a common ground of survival. and that's where the president has opposed practically every arms agreement by every president, of both political parties since the bomb went off. he now completes this term with no progress toward arms control at all but with a very dangerous arms race under way instead. there are now over 2,000 more warheads pointed at us today than there were when he was sworn in. we must be very, very realistic in the nature of that leadership, but we must grind away and talk to find ways to reducing these differences, particularly where arms races are concerned and other dangerous exercises of soviet power.
there will be no unilateral disarmament under my administration. i will keep this nation strong. i understand exactly what the soviets are up to. but that, too, is a part of national strength. to do that, a president must know what is essential to command and to leadership and to strength. and that's where the president's failure to master in my opinion, the essential elements of arms control has cost us dearly. these four years, three years into this administration, he said he just discovered that most soviet missiles are on land and that's why his proposal didn't work. i invite the american people tomorrow, because i will issue the statement, quoting president reagan. he said exactly what i said he said. he said these missiles were less dangerous than ballistic missiles because you could fire them and you could recall them if you decided there had been a miscalculation. >> i'm sorry --
>> a president must know those things. >> related question, mr. mondale on eastern europe. do you accept the conventional diplomatic wisdom that eastern europe is a soviet's sphere influence of influence and what could a mondale administration do to help the people of eastern europe achieve the human rights guaranteed to them as a result of the helsinki accords? >> i think the essential strategy of the united states ought not accept any soviet control over eastern europe. we ought to deal with each of these countries separately. we ought to pursue strategies with each of them, economic and the rest, that help them pull away from their dependence upon the soviet union. where the soviet union has acted irresponsibly as they have in many of those countries, especially recently in poland, i believe we ought to insist that western credits extended to the
soviet union bear the market rate. make the soviets pay for their irresponsibility. that is a very important objective to make certain that we continue to look forward to progress toward greater independence by these nations and work with each of them separately. >> mr. president, your rebuttal? >> y i'm not going to continue trying to respond to these repetitions of the falsehoods that have already been stated here, but with regard to whether mr. mondale would be strong as
he said he would be. i know he has a commercial out where he's appearing on the deck of the "nimitz" and watching the f-14s take off and that's an image of strength. except if he had his way when the "nimitz" was being planned, he would have been deep in the water because there wouldn't be any "nimitz" to stand on because he was against it. he was against the f-14 fighter, the b-1 bomber. he wanted to cut the salary of the -- all of the military. he wanted to bring home half of the american forces in europe. and he has a record of weakness with regard to our national defense that is second to none. indeed, he was on that side virtually throughout all his years in the senate and he opposed even president carter when toward the end of his term, president carter wants to increase the defense budget. >> mr. mondale, your rebuttal? >> mr. president, i accept your commitment to peace, but i want you to accept my commitment to a strong national defense. i propose a budget -- i have proposed a budget which would increase our nation's strength in real terms by double that of the soviet union. i'll tell you where we disagree. it is true over ten years ago, i voted to delay production of the
f-14. i'll tell you why. the plane wasn't flying the way it was supposed to be. it was a waste of money. your definition of national strength is to throw money at the defense department. my definition of national strength is to make certain that a dollar spent buys us a dollar's worth of defense. there's a big difference between the two of us. a president must manage that budget. i will keep us strong, but you'll not do that unless you command that budget and make certain we get the strength that we need. and you way $500 for a $5 hammer, you aren't buying strength. >> i would ask the audience not to applaud. all it does is take up time we'd like to devote to the debate. >> mr. mondale, in an address
earlier this year, you said that before this country resorts to military force, and i'm quoting, american interest should be sharply defined, publicly supported, congressionally sanctioned, militarily feasible, internationally defensible, open to independent scrutiny and alert to regional history. now aren't you setting up such a gauntlet of tests that adversaries could suspect as president you'd never use force to protect american interests? >> no, i believe every one of those standards is essential to the exercise of power by this country. and we can see that in both lebanon and in central america. in lebanon, this president exercised american power all right but the management of it
was such that our marines were killed. we had to leave in humiliation. the soviet union became stronger. terrorists became emboldened, and it was because they did not think through how power should be exercised, dead not have the american public with them on a plan that worked that we ended up the way we did. similarly in central america, what we're doing in nicaragua with this covert war which the congress, including many republicans have tried to stop, is finally end up with the public definition of american power that hurts us. where we get associated with political assassins and the rest. we have to decline for the first time in modern history jurisdiction of the world court because they'll find us guilty of illegal actions and our enemies are strengthened from all of this. we need to be strong. we need to be prepared to use that strength. but we must understand that we are a democracy. we are a government by the people. and when we move, it should be for very severe and extreme reasons that serve our national interest and end up with a stronger country behind us. it's only in that way that we can persevere. >> you have been quoted as saying that you might quarantine nicaragua. i'd like to know what that means. would you stop soviet ships as president kennedy did in 1962, and wouldn't that be more dangerous than president reagan's covert war? >> what i'm referring to there
is the mutual self-defense provisions that exist in the inter-american treaty that permits the nations, our friends in that region to combine to take steps, diplomatic and otherwise, to prevent nicaragua when she acts in asserting power in other parts outside of her border to take those steps, whatever they might be to stop it. the nicaraguans must know that it is the policy of our government that that leadership must stay behind the boundaries of their nation. not interfere in other nations. and by working with all of the nations in the region, unlike the policies of this administration, unlike the president said, they have not supported negotiations in that region, we will be much stronger because we'll have the moral authority that goes with those efforts. >> president reagan, you introduced u.s. forces into
lebanon as neutral peacekeepers but then made them combatant on the side of the lebanese government. you were forced to withdraw them under fire and now a syrian element is dominant in the country. doesn't lebanon represent a major fail our the part of your administration and raise serious questions about a foreign policy strategist and as commander in chief. >> no, i don't agree to all of those things. first of all, we and our allies, the italians, french and united kingdom went into lebanon, we went in there at the request of what was left of the lebanese government. to be a stabilizing force while they tried to establish a government. but the first -- pardon me. the first time we went in, we went in at their request because the war was going on in beirut. israel could not be blamed for that. those terrorists had been violating their northern border consistently. israel chased them all the way to there. then we went in with a multinational force to help remove and did remove more than 13,000 of those terrorists from lebanon. we departed. then the government of lebanon asked us back in as a stabilizing force while they
established a government and sought to get the foreign forces all the way out of lebanon and that they could then take care of their own borders. and we were succeeding. we were there for the better part of a year. our position happened to be at the airport. occasional snipings and sometimes artillery fire. but we did not engage in conflict that was out of line wither mission. i will never send troops anywhere in a mission of that kind without telling them that if somebody shoots at them, they can darn well shoot back. and this is what we did. we never initiated any kind of action. we defended ourselves there. but we were succeeding to the point the lebanese government had been organized. there were the meetings in geneva in which they began to meet with the hostile factional forces and put together some type of a peace plan. we were succeeding and that was why the terrorist acts began. there are forces there, and that includes syria, in my mind, who don't want us to succeed, who don't want that kind of a piece with a dominant lebanon over its
own territory. so the terrorist acts began and led to the one great tragedy when they were killed in that suicide bombing of a building. then the multilateral force withdrew for only one reason. we withdrew because we were no longer able to carry out the mission for which we went in. we went in to keep israel and syria from getting into the sixth war between them. i have no apologies for going on a peace mission. >> four years ago you criticized president carter for ignoring ample warnings that they may be taken hostage. haven't you done the same thing with 300 americans, not hostages, but dead and you vowed swift retaliation against terrorists but doesn't our lack of response suggest you're just bluffing? >> morton, no. i think there's a great difference between the government of iran threatening our diplomatic personnel and there is a government that you can see and can put your hand on. in the terrorist situation, there are terrorist factions all
over -- in the recent 30-day period, 37 terrorist acts in 20 countries have been committed. the most recent has been the one in brighton. in dealing with terrorists, yes, we want to retaliate but only if we can put our finger on the people responsible and not endanger the lives of innocent civilians there in the various communities and in the city of beirut, where these terrorists are operating. i have just signed legislation to add to our ability to deal along with our allies with this terrorist trouble. it's going to take all our allies. we pretty much resolved the whole problem of skyjackings
some time ago. well, the red light went on. i could have gone on forever. >> mr. mondale, your rebuttal? >> groucho marx said, who do you believe? me or your own eyes? and what we have in lebanon is something that the american people have seen. the joint chiefs urged the president not to put our troops in that because they're indefensible. they went to them five days before they were killed and said please take them out of there. the secretary of state admitted that this morning. he did not do so. the report following the explosion of the barracks disclosed we'd not taken any of the steps that we should have taken. that was the second time. then the embassy was blown up a few weeks ago and once again, none of the steps that should have been taken were taken. and we were warned five days before that explosives were on their way. and they weren't taken. the terrorists have won each
time. the president told the terrorists he was going to retaliate. he didn't. they called their bluff. and the bottom line is, the united states left in humiliation, and our enemies are stronger. >> mr. president, your rebuttal? >> yes, first of all, mr. mondale should no know that the president of the united states did not order the marines into that barracks. that was a command decision made by the commanders on the spot and based with what they thought was best for the men there. that is one. on the other things you've just said about the terrorists, i'm tempted to ask you what you would do. these are unidentified people and after the bomb goes off, they are blown to bits because they are suicidal individuals who think that they're going to go to paradise if they perpetrate such an act and lose their life in doing it. we are going to, as i say, we are busy trying to find the centers where these operations
stem from, and retaliation will be taken. we're not going to simply kill some people to say we got even. we want to know when we retaliate we're retaliating with those responsible for the terrorist acts. and our own united states capitol in washington has been bombed twice. >> your question to president reagan? >> mr. president, i want to ask a question that's been lurking for two or three weeks and cast it in national security concerns. you are already the oldest president in u.s. history and you retired after your most recent encounter with mr. mondale. president kennedy had to go for days on end with very little sleep during the cuba missile crisis. is there any doubt in your mind that you'd be able to function in such circumstances? >> not at all. and i want you to know that also, i will not make age an
issue of this campaign. i am not going to exploit for political purposes my opponent's youth and inexperience. if i still have time, i might add that, it was seneca or cicero, i don't know which that said if it was not for the elders, correcting the mistakes of the young, there would be no state. >> i'd like to catch that one. you and mr. mondale have already disagreed about what you had to say about recalling submarine launch missiles. there's another similar issue out there that relates to your -- you said at least you are unaware the soviet retaliatory power was based on
land-based missiles. first is that correct? secondly, if it is correct, have you informed yourself in the meantime, and, third, is it necessary for the president to be so intimately involved in strategic details? >> yes, this had to do with our disarmament talks. and the whole controversy about land missiles came up because we thought that the strategic nuclear weapons, the most destabilizing are the land based. put your thumb on a button and somebody blows up 20 minutes liter. we thought it would be better to negotiate with those and second phase, take up the submarine launch, the airborne missiles. the soviet union, to our surprise, and not just mine, made it plain when we brought this up that they placed a greater reliance on the land-based missiles and, therefore, they wanted to take up all three. and we agreed. we said, all right. if that's what you want to do. but it was a surprise to us because they outnumbered us 64-36 in submarines and 20% more
bombers capable of carrying nuclear missiles than we had. why should we believe that they had placed that much more reliance on land-based? but even after we gave in and said, all right, let's discuss it all, they walked away from the table. we didn't. >> mr. mondale, i'm going to hang in there. should the president's age and stamina be an issue in the political campaign? >> no, and i have not made it an issue, nor should it be. what's at issue here is the president's application of his authority to understand what a president must know to lead this nation, secure our defense and make the decisions and the judgments that are necessary. a minute ago, the president quoted cicero, i believe. i want to quote somebody a little closer to home, harry truman. he said the buck stops here. we just heard the president's answer, or the problems at the barracks in lebanon where 241 marines were killed. what happened? first, the joint chiefs of staff
went to the president and said, don't put those troops there. they did it. and then five days before the troops were killed, they went back to the president, through the second of defense and said, please, mr. president, take those troops out of there because we can't defend them. they didn't do it. we know what happened. after that, once again, our embassy was exploded. this is the fourth time this has hand. an identical attack in the same region, despite warnings, even public warnings from the terrorists. who is in charge? who is handling this matter? that's my main point. now an arms control, we're completing four years. this is the first administration since the bomb went off that made no progress. we have an arms race under way instead. a president has to lead his government or it won't be done.
different people with different views fight with each other. for 3 1/2 years, this administration avoided arms control, resisted tabling arms control proposals that had any hope of agreeing. rebuked their negotiator in 1981 when he came close to an agreement, at least in principle on medium range weapons. and we have this arms race under way, and a recent book that just came out by the nation's most respected author in this field strobe talbot called "deadly gamble" concludes this president has failed to master the essential details needed to command and lead us both in terms of security and in terms of arms control. that's why they call the president the commander in chief. good intentions, i grant, but it takes more than that. you must be tough and smart. >> the next question of leadership keeps arising in different forms in this
discussion already. and the president and mr. mondale has called you whining and vacillating among the more charitable phrases, weak, i believe. it is a question of leadership. and he has made the point that you have not repudiated some of the semi diplomatic activity of the reverend jackson in central america. did you approve of his diplomatic activity? and are you prepared to repudiate him now? >> i read his statement the other day. state, and i work to the way all my life to demonstrate that. jesse jackson is an independent person, i do not control him. let's talk about people we do control. in the last debate the president united states said that i said the marines had
died shamefully and died and shame in lebanon. i demand an apology from from vice president bush because i instead had honored these young men, grief for their families, and thought they were wonderful americans honored us all. what does the president have to say about taking responsibility, or vice president who not who will not apologize for something like that. >> mister president your rebuttal. >> yes i know it will come as a surprise to mr. mondale, i am in charge and we have come arms control talks with the soviet union early in my administration. i proposed got a total elimination of intermediate range missiles. was soviets had had better than a tenth one advantage in the allies of the over the allies new york. they protested that, and suggested a smaller number, i
went along with that. the so-called negotiations but you said i walked out on, was the so-called walk in the woods between one of our representatives and one of the soviet union. and it was not me who turned it down, the soviet union disavowed it. >> mr. mondale your rebuttal. >> there were two distinguished officers of arms controls in this country. there are many others but too i want to cite tonight. one is -- in his deadly book in his book deadly gambit. the other one is new house, one of the arms control specialist in our country. well said this administrator and turned down the walk in the woods agreement first. that would've been a perfect agreement from the standpoint of the united states, europe and our security. but a good negotiator he returned, he was rebuked and his boss was fired. this is the kind of leadership that we have had in this
administration in the most deadly issue of our times. now we have a runaway arms race, and all they have to show for four years in u.s. soviet relations, is one meeting in the last weeks of an administration and nothing before. they are tough negotiators and all previous presidents have made progress, but this one has not. >> your question to mr. mondale? >> mr. mondale, many of us are saying our number one foreign policy problem today is one that remains almost totally unrecognized. massive illegal immigration, from economically collapsing countries. they are saying it's the only real territorial threat to the american nation state. you yourself said in the 1970s, that we had a hemorrhage, but today you have backed off any immigration reforms, such as the simpson -- bill. why would you do instead today
if anything? >> this is a very serious problem in our country, it has to be dealt with. i object to that part of the simpson -- bill which i think is unfair and was moved. that is the part that requires employers to determine citizenship of an employee before they are hired. i'm convinced that the result of this would be the people who are a spanish, people who have different languages or speak with an accent, would find it difficult to be employed. i think that is wrong. we have never had citizenship tests in our country before, and i do not think we should have a citizenship card today. that is counterproductive. i do support other aspects of the simpson muzzle appeal, strengthen the enforcement at the border. and other ways to deal with undocumented workers in this area and dealing with the problem of settling people who
have lived here for many many years, and do not have an established status. i further strongly recommend that this administration do something it is not done and that is to strengthen enforcement at the border. strengthen the officials that deal with undocumented workers, and do so in a way that is responsible. we need an answer to this problem but it must be an american answer, it is consistent with justice and due process. everyone in this room practically, here tonight is an immigrant. we came here loving this nation, serving it and it is served over bountiful dreams. one of those streams is justice. griff we need a measure i will support it, bring forward those objectives, but avoid that one aspect that i think is very serious. the second part is to maintain
and improve relations with reference to the south. we cannot resolve this problem all on her own. that's why the failure of this administration to deal in a good faith way with mexico, costa rica and the other nations in trying to find a peaceful settlement to the dispute in central america. and that has undermined our capacity to effectively deal with this diplomatically in this area as well. >> sir people as well balanced as and as just as father -- in notre dame, have pointed out repeatedly that there will be no immigration reform without employer sanctions. because it would be an unbalanced bill and the way to reinforce it. however putting that aside for the moment, your critics have also said repeatedly that you have not gone along with the bill or with any immigration reform because of the hispanic
groups and hispanic leadership groups who do not represent what hispanic americans want. because polls show that they overwhelmingly want some immigration reform, so can you say or how can you justify your position on this and how do you respond to the criticism that this is another or yet this is an example of your flip-flopping, and giving into special interest groups at the expense of the american nation. >> i think you're right that the polls show that the majority of hispanics want that bill. so i'm not doing it for political reasons, i'm doing it because all my life i thought for a system of justice in this country, a system in which every american has a chance to achieve the fullest life without discrimination. this bill imposes upon employers the responsibility of determining whether somebody applies for job is an american
or not. and inevitably, they're going to be reluctant to hire hispanics, or people with a different accent and if i were dealing with politics here, polls show the american people want this. i am for reform in this area. four enforcement at the border. and many other aspects of the simpson mazzoli bill. but despite the politics of it, i stand where i stand and i think i'm right. and before this fight is over we will come of will come up with a better bill, more effective bill, that does not undermine the liberties of our people. >> mister president, you to have said that our borders are out of control. yet this fall you allowed the guy simpson mazzoli bill which would have at least minimally protected our borders and rights of citizenship, but because of an an important issue to the state of illegal
aliens, may i ask what priority may i ask you that you are going to show this as bill and how sincere are you to control immigration into the united states. >> okay i am in support of the simpson mazzoli and the bill that came out of the senate. but there were things added in the house side that we felt good made it less of a good bill. as a matter of fact made a bad bill. and we stayed with them in conference all the way to even where senator simpson did not want the bill in the manner of which came out of the conference committee. there were a number of things in there that we can that bill. i can't detail them here but it is true our borders are out of control. it is also true that this has been a situation at our borders back through a number of administrations. and i supported this bill and i believe in the idea of amnesty
for those who have put down roots and have lived here even though some time back they may have entered illegally. with regard to the employer sanctions this well we must have that. not only to ensure that we can identify the illegal aliens, but also as boston keep protesting about what it will do to employers, there is another employer that we shouldn't be so concerned about. these are employers down through the years that have encouraged the illegal entry into this country because they then hire these individuals and hire them at starvation wages with none of the benefits that we think are normal and natural for workers in our country. and the individuals cannot complain because of their legal status. we don't think that those people should be allowed to continue operating free. this was why the provision that we had in regards to sanctions and so forth. i will do everything i can and
all of us in the administration to join in again when congress is back at it, to get an immigration bill that will give us once again control over borders. and with regard to friendship below the border, the country's down there yes, no administration i know has established the relationship that we have with our latin friends. but as long as they have an economy that leave so many people in dire poverty, and unemployment they are going to seek that employment across our borders. and we work with those other countries. >> mister president, the experts also say that the situation today it's terribly different, quantitatively and qualitatively different than what is been in the past, because of the population growth. they say that mexico's population will go from 60 million today 220 million at
the turn of the century. many of these people will be coming into the united states not to citizens, but as illegal workers. you have repeatedly said recently that you believe that armageddon, the destruction of the world may be imminent in our times. do you ever feel that we are in for an armageddon or a situation time of anarchy in regards to the population explosion in the world? >> no as a matter of fact the population explosion and if you look at the actual figures, has been vastly exaggerated over exaggerated. a matter of fact there are some solid figures about how much space there still is in the world, and how many more people that we can have. it's almost like going back to the -- theory. even then when they were saying that everyone would starve with a limited population they hadn't. but the problem of population growth, is one here with regard to our immigration and we have
been the safety valve whether we wanted to or not with the illegal entry here and in mexico where their population is increasing and they don't have an economy that can provide the jobs. this is what we are trying to work out not only to protect their own borders but to have some kind of fairness and recognition of that. >> mr. mondale your rebuttal as. >> one of the biggest problems today is that the countries to our south, we are so desperately poor that these people who will almost leaves their lives if they don't come north, come north despite all the risks. if we are going to find a permanent fundamental answer to this, it goes to america's economic and trade policies to permit these nations to get on their own two feet and to get prosperity so they could have
jobs for themselves in their people. that is why this enormous national debt engineered by this administration, is harming these countries and feeling this immigration. these high interest rates, real rates have doubled under this administration, it had the same effect on mexico and so on. the cost to repaying those debts, it's so enormous that it results in massive unemployment. hardship and heartache as. that drives it up to the north and we need to enlist deficits as well. we >> mister president your rebuttal. >> i've heard that for a lot of things but not for illegal immigration across our border got that has nothing to do with. it goes but with regard at least give us the recognition of the fact that when you left office mr. mondale they were 21 and have the prime rate and i would predicted they will be
coming down a little more shortly guy we are trying to undo some of the things that your administration did we. >> mister president i would like to pick up this armored del armageddon theme. you have mentioned that we are lead toward some biblical armageddon. you have plans for the united states to fight but would fail in a nuclear war. do you feel we are now hitting or heading for some nuclear armageddon, and you feel that this country and the world could survive that kind of calamity good >> i think what has been hailed as something i'm supposedly as president discussing in principle, it's some fizzes philosophical discussion with people who are interested in the same things. good and that is the prophesy's down through the years, the biblical prophesy's of what would portend the coming of
armageddon and so forth. and the fact that a number of theologian's, for the last decade or more have believed. they believe that this was true, that the prophesy's are coming together as. but no one knows whether armageddon and those prophesy's mean armageddon is 1000 years away or the day after tomorrow. so i have never seriously warned and said we must plan according to armageddon. now with regard to having to say whether we would try to survive in the event of nuclear war, of course we would. but let me also point out, that through several parliaments around the world in europe in a nation, i have made a statement to each one of them. i will repeat it here. a nuclear war cannot be one and must never be fought. that is why we are maintaining a deterrent, and trying to achieve a deterrent capacity where no one would believe that
they could start such a war and escape with limited damage. but, the deterrent and that is what it is for. it is also what led me to propose what is now being called the star wars concept. but propose that we research to see if there isn't a defensive weapon, that could defend against incoming missiles. if such a defense could be found, want to be far more humanitarian to say that now we can defend against a nuclear war, by destroying missiles instead of slaughtering millions of people. >> mister president when you made that proposal, the so-called star wars proposal you said if i'm not mistaken, that you would share this very supersophisticated technology with the soviet union. after all of the distrust over the year sir but you've expressed towards the soviet
union, do you really expect anyone to take seriously that offer that he would share the best of america's technology in this weapons area with our principal adversary? >> why not? what if we did? and i hope we can. we are still researching. what will if we come up with a weapon, that renders those missiles obsolete. there's never been a weapon invented in the history of man, that is not lead to a defensive a counter weapon. but suppose we came up with that. now some people have said that would make war imminent because they would think that we could launch a first strike because we could defend against the enemy. but why not do what i have offered to do and asked the soviet union to do. say look here's what we can do. we will even give it to you, so now you sit down with us and once and for all get rid of all of us of these nuclear weapons. and free mankind from that threat.
i think that would be the greatest use of a defensive weapon. >> mr. mondale you have been sharply critical of the president's defense initiative, but what is wrong by all of a major effort from this country to use its best technology to knock out as many incoming nuclear warheads as possible. >> i may sharply disagree with president on sharing the most advanced, locked dangerous, an important technology in america with the soviet union. we have had for many years and understandably, the system of restraint and high technology. because the soviets are behind us. and any research or development along the star wars themed, will inevitably use our most advanced computers, engineering and the thought that we would share this with the soviet union is in my opinion a total nonstarter. i would not let the soviet union get their hands on it at all. but what is wrong with star wars? there is nothing wrong with the
theory of it. if we could develop a principle, that would say both sides could fire all their missiles and no one would get hurt i suppose it's a good idea. but the fact of it is we are so far away from research that even comes close to that that the director of engineering research in the defense department said to get there we would have to solve eight problems each of which are more difficult than the atomic bomb and the manhattan project grew. it would cost something like a trillion dollars to deploy the weapon. the second thing is this all assumes that the soviets would not respond in kind and they always do them. we won't get behind and they will get behind that's the tragic story of this. we have more at stake in space satellites than they do. if we could stop right now the testing and the deployment of
these bass weapons, and the presidents proposals go clear beyond research we won't have any argument. but maybe someday somebody will think of something. but to commit this nation to a buildup of anti satellite in their crude stage, and the weapons that would bring about an arms race that's very dangerous indeed. one final point, the most dangerous aspect of this proposal, is for the first time we would delegate that computers would get them the decision as to whether start a war. there would be time for president to decide, it would be decided by these remote computers. computers it might be an oil fire, but be a jet exhaust, but the computer might decide it's a missile and off we go. why don't we stop this madness now and draw a line and keep the heavens free from war. as [applause] the basis of your
arms proposal is a freeze on existing weapons systems. in your view, which specific weapon systems could be subject to a mutual and verifiable freeze, and which could not? >> every system that is very viable, could be placed on the table for negotiations or agreement. i would not agree to any negotiations or any agreement that evolved conduct on the part of the soviet union that we could not verify every day. i would not agree to any agreement in which the united states security interest was not fully recognized and supported. that is why we say mutual, and verifiable freezes. why do i support the freeze?
because this ever rising arms race madness, makes both nations less secure. it is more difficult to defend this nation and it is putting a hair trigger on nuclear war. this administration by going into the star wars system is going to add a dangerous escalation. we have to be tough on the soviet union, but i think the american people. >> time is up mr. mondale. >> president reagan your rebuttal. >> yes my rebuttal once again is that this invention that has just been created here and how i would go about rolling over for the soviet union, no mr. mondale. my idea would be with that defensive weapon, that we would sit down with them and say now are you willing to join us. give them a demonstration. then say here is what we can
do. now if you're willing to join us in getting rid of all the nuclear weapons in the world, then we will give you this so that we would know that nobody can cheat. we will have something that if anybody tries to cheat. but when you keep star worrying it. i'm not a scientist i never suggested that i said that the joint cease of the joint chiefs of staff agree with me, and it's time for us to turn our research ability to see if we could not find this kind of a defensive weapon. and suddenly somebody said it has to be up there in star wars. i don't know what it would be. but if we can come up with one, i think the world would be better off. >> mr. mondale your rebuttal? >> well that is what president is supposed to know. where those weapons are going to be. if they are space weapons, i assume they will be in space. if they're anti-satellite weapons they're going to be going against anti satellites. so now this is the most
dangerous technology that we possess. the soviets tried to spy on us and steal the stuff. and to give them the technology of this kind, i disagree with it. you haven't just accepted research mister president, you have set up a strategic defense initiative and an agency, and you're beginning tests, you're talking about deploying, you're asking for a budget of some 30 billion dollars for this purpose. this is an arms escalation and we will be better off, far better off if we stop right now because we have more to lose in space than they do. if someday somebody comes along with an answer, that is something else. but there would be an answer in our lifetime that's unimaginable. why do we start things that we know the soviets will match and make us all less secure. >> your question sir to mr. mondale. >> are you saying with your
with regards to the soviet union, you would give up with a b one bomber and the -- before -- >>. and you have announced that reaching an agreement with the soviets is most important thing with. you are giving away half the store before you begin to talk? >> we have a vast range of technology in weaponry right now that provides all bargaining chips that we need. we have the ground launch crews no cruise missile, purging missile, the submarine, the d five submarine, the stealth technology. we have a whole range of technology. when i disagree with the amex, is because it's a sitting duck. it will draw an attack, and if it's a hair trigger and a dangerous destabilizing weapon, and the main one is similarly to be opposed. because for 15 years, the
soviet union has been preparing to meet the b one. the secretary of defense himself said it would be a suicide mission if it were built. and instead i want to build a midget man, which is mobile and thus less vulnerable. contributing to stability. and a weapon that will give us security and contribute to arms control. that's why i respect the technology to build a stealth bomber, which i supported four years, that can penetrate the soviet air defense security, without any hope that they would perceive word is, because their radar systems frustrated. in other words of president has to make choices and this makes a stronger. the final point is that we can use this money that we save on these weapons, to spend on things that we need. our conventional strength in europe. we need to strengthen that in order to ensure our western allies of our presence there. strong defense.
but also to diminish and reduce the likelihood of commencement of a war and the use of nuclear weapons. it's by this way by making wise choices, that we are stronger and we enhanced the arms control, and every president up until this one has been able to do it. and right now the world is more dangerous because of that as a result. >> i want to follow up on one of the questions, it seems to be on a question of our very viability, but you have some problems with the extent of the freeze. it seems that testing would be difficult to verify because the soviets and coat their telemetry. number of warheads would be impossible to verify except with inspection, so in view of all that wet is going to be frozen? >> i will not agree any arms control agreement including the freeze that's not verifiable. let's take the warhead principle. the warhead principle, they've
been counting this for years. whenever a weapon is tested we count the number of warheads on it, and whenever that is used we count that number of warheads whether they have that number or less on it or not. these are standard rules. i will not agree to any production restrictions, or agreements unless we have the ability to verify those agreements. i do not trust the russians. i believe that every agreement we reached, must be verifiable and i will not agree to anything that we cannot tell every day. in other words we have to be tough, but in order to stop this arms race we have to push ahead with tough negotiations that are verifiable so we know the soviets are green and living up to their agreement. >> mister president i want to ask you a question about negotiating with france. you severely criticized president carter for helping to undermine to dictators that got
in trouble with their leaders. whether people. the shot around and -- . now talking about president pinochet of chile, and present marco's of the philippines. wilkie do from stopping the philippines to becoming another nicaragua? >> i did criticize the president because our undercutting of what was a ally. the shot around. and i'm not at all convinced that he was that far out of line with his people. or they wanted that to happen. the shaw had done our bidding and carried our load in the middle east for quite some time. and i did think that it was a blotch on our record that we let him down. had things gotten better the shaw whatever he might have done was building low cost housing. was distributing land to the presidents where they could be landowners. things of that kind. but we turned over to a
maniacal fanatic who has slaughtered thousands and thousands of people, calling leicester it came from behind to win executions. against crystal palace 4 days ago. with the impressive matter of some osaka, no i screaming never did defensive melissa. as a matter of fact according to the previous administration stood by and so did i. but for this revelation to take place and the promise of the revolution, this democracy free press free labor unions, and then just as castro had been in cuba, the send in east as they hosted the other parties to the revolution. many of them are now the contra's. they jailed some and murder some. and they installed a marxist leninist totalitarian government. and what i have to say about this is, many times and this has to do with the philippines also. i know there are things there in the philippines that do not look good to us from the
standpoint right now of a democratic right. but what is the alternative? it is a large communist movement to take over the philippines. they have been our friends since their inception as a nation. i think that we have had enough of a record of letting under the guise of revolution, someone who we thought was a bit more right than we would be, letting that person go and then winding up with totalitarianism pure and simple as the alternative. i think we are better off for example in the philippines, to try to retain our friendship and help them right the wrongs that we see. rather than throwing them rules and facing a communist power in the pacific. >> mister president since the united states has to strategically bases in the philippines, would they overthrow president marcus would that be a vital interest
to the america at a threat to us. >> we have to see what it would mean and what government would follow. and there is every indication if there's any that that would be a hostile government to united states, that would be a severe blow to our abilities there in the pacific. >> what would you do about it? >> sorry you have asked the follow-up question. mr. mondale your rebuttal? >> perhaps no area do we disagree more than this administration's policy on human rights. i went to the philippines as vice president, i pressed for human rights and called for the release of piano and -- . what explains this administration close and getting up to the argentine dictators. fortunately a democracy took over. this nation was embarrassed by this current administration adoption of their policies. what happens in south africa,
for example the nobel prize winner two days ago said, this administration is seen as working with the oppressive government of that region. of south africa. that hurts this nation. we need to stand for human rights. we need to make it clear that we are for human liberty. national security and human rights, together but this administration time and time again has lost its way in this field. >> president reagan your rebuttal. >> well the invasion of afghanistan did not take place on my watch. i have described what has happened in iran and you are here than either. i do not think that our record of human rights can be assailed, i think that we have observed ourselves and have done our best. to see that human rights are extended throughout the world. mr. mondale has recently
announced a plan of his to get the democracies together, and to work with the whole world to turn to democracy, and i was glad to hear him say that. that is what we have been doing ever since i next to the british parliament that we should do this. and human rights are not advanced but at the same time you then stand back and say i didn't know the gun was loaded, and you have another totalitarian power in place. >> in this segment, because of the pressure of time, there will be no rebuttals, and no follow-up questions. mr. true it your question to president reagan? one question one question to each candidate. >> mister president can i say this i understood you say this earlier, the developments on military-based technology is successful. you might give these so it's a demonstration say here it is. which sounds like you might be able to gain certain values
which would enable you to dictate terms. and then i might suggest you it might mean scrapping a generation of strategy which is mutual deterrence where we reach hold each other hot each other hostage. is that what you're saying? >> i'm not said that it seems to me that this could be a logical step in what is my ultimate goal. my ultimate dream. and that is the elimination of nuclear weapons in the war room and it seems to me this could be an adjunct, or certainly a great assisting agent in getting that done. i am not going to roll over, as mr. mondale suggests and give them something that could turn around and be used against us. but i think it's an interesting proposal. to see if we can find first of all, something that renders those weapons obsolete. incapable of their mission. and mr. mondale seems to
approve mad. mad is mutual assured destruction. meaning if you use nuclear weapons on us, the only thing that we can do is kill as many people of yours as you kill of ours. i think we need to find something that could destroy weapons, and not humans. i think that is a great step forward in human rights. >> mr. mondale could i ask you
years have seen more weapons built, a wider and more vigorous arms race than in history. he says he wants a system that will make nuclear arms or wars safe. so nobody will get hurt. but maybe someday somebody can dream of that, but why start an arms race now. why destabilize our relationship. why threaten our space satellite upon which we defend. why pursue a strategy that would delegate to computers the question of starting a war. a president to defend this country, and to get arm controls, postmaster what is going on. i accept his objective and his dream, but the hard reality is we must know what we are doing and pursue those objectives that are possible in our time.
he has four years of his administration he's failed to do this. if you want a tough president, that uses that strength to get arms control, and draws a line in the heavens. look at walter mondale. >> we arrived at the point in the debate now where we call for closing statements. you have the full four minutes each of you. mr. mondale you go first. >> i want to thank the voters, the citizens of kansas city president reagan for agreeing to the debate this evening. this evening we talked about national strength and i believe we need to be strong and i will keep a strong. i think that strength must also require wisdom, and smarts it's exercise. that is key to the strength of our nation. a president must know the
essential facts, essential to command. was a but a president must also have a vision of where this nation should go. tonight as americans, you have a choice. and you are entitled to know where you would take this country when you decide to elect us. as president i will press for long term vigorous economic growth. that's why want to get these debts down, and these interest rates down. it's restore america exports. and restore rural america and bring the jobs back here for our children. i want this next generation to be the best educated in american history. to invest in the human mind, and science again. i want this nation to protect its air and water and land and public health. america is not temporary. we are forever. and as americans, our
generation should protect this wonderful land for our children. i want a nation a fairness. where no one is denied fullness of life or discriminated against. and we deal compassion, for those who are in trouble. above all i want a nation that is strong. since we debated two weeks ago, united states and the soviet union have built 100 more warheads. and off to kill millions of americans. and millions of soviet citizens. this does not strengthen us, this weakens the chances of civilization to survive. i remember the night before i became vice president. i was given a briefing. i was told anytime night or day, i might be called upon to make the most fateful decision on earth. or to fire these atomic weapons
that can destroy the human species. that lesson tells us two things. one, pick a president that you know will no, if that tragic moment never comes, will he must know. because there will be no time for staffing, committee's advice or advisers. a president must know right then. above all pick a president who will fight to avoid the day when that god awful decision ever needs to be made. that is why this election is so terribly important. america, and americans, decide not just what is happening in this country, we are the strongest and most powerful free society on earth. when you make that judgment you are deciding not only the future of our nation. but in a very profound respect
your deciding the future of the world. we need to move on, it is time for america to find new leadership. please join me in this call in this cause, to move confidently and with a sense of assurance and command and to build the blessed future of our nation. [applause] >> president reagan your summation please. >> yes my thanks to the moderator and to the people of kansas city for the warm hospitality. i think the american people tonight, have much to be grateful for. an economic recovery that have become expansion. freedom and most of all we are at peace. i, i'm grateful for the chance to re-confirm a reaffirm my commitment. and i will reduce nuclear weapons and one day to
illuminate them entirely. the question before you comes down to this. do you want to see america return to the policies of weakness of the last four years or do we want to go forward marching together as a nation of strength that's going to continue to be strong. we shouldn't be dwelling on the past, or even the present. the meaning of this election is the future. whether we're going to grow and provide the jobs and the opportunities for all americans and what they need. several years ago, i was given an assignment to write a letter. it was to go into a time capsule. it would be read in 100 years when that time capsule was open. i remember driving down the california coast, and one day
my mind was full of what i was going to put in that letter about the problems and the issues that confront us in our time. and what we did about them. but i could not completely neglect the beauty around me. the pacific out there on one side of the highway, shining in the mountain like the range rising on the other side. with that thought i realized, when a job i had with that letter. i would be writing a letter to people who know everything there is to know about us. we know nothing about them. they would know all about our problems, they would know how we solve them, and whether our solution was beneficial to them down through the years or whether it hurt them. they would also know that we lived in a world with terrible weapons, nuclear weapons of terrible destructive power.
aiming at each other, capable of crossing the ocean in a matter of minutes. destroying civilization as we know it. and then i thought to myself, but are they going to say about us? what are those people, 100 years from now, going to think? they will know whether we used those weapons are not. well, but they will say about us when 100 years from now depends on how we keep our rendezvous with destiny. will we do the things that we know must be done and know that one day down in history, when 100 years, perhaps before, someone will say thank god for those people back in the 19 eighties for preserving our freedom, for saving for us this blessed planted called earth with all its granger and beauty?
you know, i am grateful to all of you for giving me the opportunity to serve you for this for years and i seek reelection because i want more than anything else to try to complete the new beginning that we charted four years ago. george bush, who i think it's one of the finest vice presidents this country ever had, george bush and i have crisscross the country and in the last few months had a wonderful experience where we've met young america, we have met your sons and daughters. >> mister president, i'm obliged to cut you off under the rules of the debate. i am sorry. >> all right. [applause] >> perhaps i should
point out the rules under which i did that were agreed on by the two campaigns as you know. thank you mister president. thank you mister mondale. thanks to the panel as well. finally to our audience. we thank you. and the league of women voters ask me to say to you don't forget to vote on november 6th. [applause] [applause]