tv Presidential Debates 1984 Presidential Debate - Ronald Reagan Walter... CSPAN May 3, 2021 1:17pm-2:47pm EDT
journalist, mr. roberts, author of "untold history" of america's biggest mass arrest. watch american history tv every evening on c-span 3 tv. we continue to look back at the life of walter mondale that died recently. here's their second and final debate held in kansas city, missouri, where the candidates took questions on defense and foreign policy issues. the republican ticket of ronald reagan and w.h. bush went on to beat mondale and geraldine ferraro in the general election.
the panel member that put the question will ask a follow-up, and the answer to that will be limited to one minute. after that the same question will be put to ronald reagan, and there will be a follow-up and each man will have one minute for rebuttal. the crucial issue of central america, you and the democratic party said the only policy toward the horrendous civil wars in central america should be on the economic development and
negotiations with perhaps a quarantine of marxist nicaragua. do you think the answers in any ways will solve the conflicts and there's no need to resort to force at all, simply, again, too weak and too late? >> i believe the question over simplifies the questions of what we must do in central america. our objectives ought to be to strengthen the democracies and stop communists and stabilize the community. a sharper alternative to the
alternative offered by the totalitarians that oppose this. finally, a strong diplomatic effort that pursues the possibilities of peace in the area. that's one of the big disagreements that 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, and 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 were humiliated and our opponents are stronger. the bottom line of national strength is that the president must be in command, he must lead. when a president doesn't know that submarine missiles are recallable, and says 70% of our strategic forces are conventional, and 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 he's 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 regular terms, and yet we keep fighting with traditional terms and the central american wars are in the same pattern as lebanon and china and cuba, and do you see any possibility we will realize and react to it in those terms? >> we absolutely must, which is why i responded to your question that i i did. it's much more complex. you must provide a strong alternative and you must show strength all at the same time, and that's why i object to the covert action in nicaragua. that's a classic example of a strategy that has embarrassed us, strengthened our opposition,
and undermined the moral authority of our people -- our country in the region. strength requires knowledge, command. we have seen in the nicaraguan example. >> mr. president, in the last few months it has seemed more and more your policies in central america were beginning to work, and it's just at this moment we are confronted with a cia story for a guerilla manual? >> i am glad you asked that question, because i know it's on many peoples' minds. i have ordered an investigation,
and i know the cia is already going forward with one. we have a gentleman down in nicaragua that is on contract to the cia advising supposedly on the military tactics, the contras, and he drew up this manual. it was turned over to the agency said of the cia in nicaragua to be printed, and a number of pages were excised by that head there, the man in charge, and he sent it here to more pages were excised before it was printed, but somehow 12 original copies got out down there and were not submitted for the printing process by the cia. those are the details as we have it, and as soon as we have an investigation and find out where the blame lies for those that
did not get excised or changed, and 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 with complete agreement in what we are doing, because the plan he outlined is the one we have been following for quite sometime including diplomatic processes throughout central america and working closely with the group. 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 the 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 would 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 head in nicaragua, there's not somebody there directing this activity, but there are cia men stations in other countries in the world, 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 contradiction of my own executive order, 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 districted 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 say 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. what about the mining of the harbors in nicaragua, which violated international law. this has hurt this country and the president's supposed
command. >> mr. president, your rebuttal? >> i have so many things to respond to, i will pick out something you said earlier. you have been all over the country repeating this, you said i believe nuclear missiles could be filed and then could be called back, and i never said such a thing or believed such a thing, and in our meeting, i said submarines carrying missiles and airplanes carrying missiles were more conventionalized weapons, and that they were also weapons or carriers where if they were sent out and there was a change you could call them back before they had launched their missiles, but i hope the from here on you will no longer be saying that particular thing, which is absolutely false, how anybody could think that any sane person would believe that you could call back a nuclear missile i
think is as ridiculous as the whole concept as been, so thank you for giving me a chance to straighten the record. i am sure you will appreciate that. >> mr. cal, your question to president reagan? >> mr. president, you often described the soviet union as a powerful evil empire intent on world domination, but this year you said, and i quote, if they want to keep their mickey mouse system, that's okay with me? which is it, do you want to contain them and establish detente or 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 have said. i believe many of the things they have done are evil in any concept of morality that we have, and i also recognize that as the two great superpowers in the world, we have to live with each other, and i told them, we
don't like their system and they don't like ours, and we are not going to change their system and they sure better not try to change ours. but between us, we can either destroy the world or save it, and i suggesttd that certainly it was to their common interests along with ours to avoid a conflict and to attempt to save the world and remove the nuclear weapons. i think that perhaps we established a little better understanding. i think that in dealing with the soviet union one has to be realistic. i know mr. mondale in the past has made statements 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 canceled the b1 under the previous administration and what did we get for it? nothing. the soviet union has been engaged in the biggest build up
in the history of man, and 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 have made it very plain to them, we seek no superiority, we will simply provide a deterrent so it would be too costly for them if they are nursing any kind of ideas of aggresstion against us, and they claim they are not and i made it clear to them that we're not, but there has been no change in my attitude at all, and i just thought when i came into office that there was time for 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. since world war ii, the vital interests of the united states has always been defined by treaty commitments and presidential proclamations.
aside from what is obvious, which is nato, for example, which countries and which regions in the world do you regard as vital national interests of this country, meaning you would send american troops to fight there if they were in danger? >> well, now you have added a hypothetical there at the end, and about that where we would send troops into fight. i am not going to make the decisions as to what the tactics could be but obviously there are a number of areas in the world that are of important us to us, and that's the middle east and that's of interest to the whole western world of the industrialized nations because of the great supply of energy of 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 removal of the cuban surrogates, thousands of them from angola.
so i can say there are a great many interests. 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 in advance hypothetically say, oh, yes, we would send troops there. >> sorry, mr. president. your time was up. >> mr. mondale, you described the soviet unions suggesting an almost total lack of trust in them. in that case what makes you think the annual summit meetings with them you proposed would result in agreements that would satisfy this country? >> because the only types of agreements are those that are defined so we know exactly what they must do, subject to full verification, which means we know every day whether they are living up to it, and follow-ups wherever we find suggestions they are 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 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 the common ground of survival, and that's where the president has opposed practically every arms agreement of every president of both political parties since the bomb went off. he completes this term with no progress towards arms control at all. there are more weapons pointed at us today than when he was sworn in, and that does not strengthen us. we must be realistic in the
nature of that leadership, but we must grind away and talk about finding ways to reducing these differences particularly where arms race is our concern and other dangerous exercises of soviet power. there will be no unilateral disarmament under my administration, and i will keep this nation strong and i understand exactly what the soviets are up to, but that, too, is a part of national strength. that's where the president's failure to master, in my opinion, the essential elements of arms control has cost us dearly. he's three years into this administration. he said he just covered most soviet missiles are on land and that's why his proposal did not 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 that these missiles were less dangerous than ballistic missiles because you could fire them and then recall them if you decided there had been a miscalculation. a president must know those things. >> a related question, mr. mondale, in eastern europe. >> i think the essential strategy of the united states ought not accept any soviet control over eastern europe. we have to deal with each of these countries separately, and pursue strategies with each of them economic and the rest that helped them pull away from their dependence on the soviet union,
and make the soviets pay for their irresponsibility. it's an important objective to make certain we look forward to greater independence and work with each of them separately. >> mr. president, your rebuttal? >> yes, i'm not going to continue to respond to the repetitions of the falsehoods that have already been stated here, but with regard as mr. mondale being as strong as he would be, and he has a commercial where he's got an image of strength, except if he had his way when the nimitz was planned, he would be deep in the water because he was against it, and he was against the m1 tank
and the b 1 bomber, and wanted to cut the salary of the military, and bring home half of the forces in europe. he has a record of weakness with regard to our national defense which is second to none, indeed he was on that side virtually throughout all of his years in the senate and even opposed president carter when he wanted 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 that would increase our nation's strength by -- in real terms by double that of the soviet union. i will tell you where we disagree, it's true over ten years ago i voted to delay the production of the f-14, and i will tell you why, because the plane was not flying the way it
was supposed to be and it was a waste of money. your idea of strength is to throw money at the defense department. and my thought is to make certain a dollar spent buys us a dollar of defense. the president must manage that budget. i will keep us strong, but you will not do that unless you command that budget and get the strength we need. when you pay $500 for a $5 hammer, you are not buying strength. >> i will ask the audience not to applaud, and it takes up time we would like to conduct the debate. >> in an address earlier this year you said before this country resorts to military force, and i am quoting, congressionally sanctioned and militarily feasible, and open to independent scrutiny and alert to regional history.
aren't you setting up such a gauntlet of test that people would suspect you would never use force to protect american interest? >> no, because every one of those standards is an 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 was as such that our marines were killed and we had to leave in humiliation, and the soviet union became stronger, and terrorists became emboldened and it's because they did not think through and we ended up the way we did. similarly in central america, what we are doing in nicaragua with the covert war, which the congress, including many republicans have tried to stop, is finally end up with a public definition of american power
that hurts us. where we get associated with political assassins and the rest, and we have to decline for the first time in modern history jurisdiction of the world court because they will find us guilty of those actions, and we need to be strong and 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 and extreme reasons that serve our national interests 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 would like to know what that means. would you stop soviet ships as president kennedy did and wouldn't that be more dangerous than president reagan's covert war?
>> what i am referring to there is the mutual self defense provisions that exist in the inner 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 irresponsibly 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 it's the policy of our government that that leadership must stay behind the boundaries of their nation and not interfere in other nations, and by working with all the nations of the region, unlike the policies of this administration, and unlike the president said they have not supported negotiations in that region, we will be much stronger because we have the moral authority that goes with those efforts. >> president reagan, you introduced u.s. force into lebanon as neutral peacekeepers,
but then you made them combatants on the side of the lebanese government and you were forced to with draw them under fire, and now syria is dominant in the country. doesn't lebanon represent a major failure on the part of your administration and raise serious questions about your capacity as a foreign policy strategists and as commander-in-chief? >> no, i don't agree to all of those things. first of all, when we and our allies, the italians, the french and the 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. first -- pardon me, the first time we went in we went at their request because the war was going on in beirut between inbound real and the plo terrorists, and israel could not be blamed for that.
then we went in with the multinational force to help remove and did remove more than 13,000 of those terrorists from lebanon, and we departed and 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. we were succeeding. we were there for the better part of a year. our position happened to be at the airport, where there was occasional snipeings and artillery firing, but we did not engage in conflict that was out of line with our mission. i will never send troops anywhere on a mission of that kind without telling them if somebody shoots at them they can darn well shoot back, and this is what they did. we never initiated any kind of action. we defended ourselves there. but we were succeeding to the point where the lebanese
government had meetings to try and put together some kind of a peace plan. we were succeeding and that was why the terrorists acts began. there are forces there, and that includes syria in my mind, who don't want us to succeed and don't want that kind of a peace with a dominant over its over territory, so the terrorists acts began and led to the great tragedy when they were killed in the suicide bombing in the building. then the multilateral force withdrew for only one reason, and we withdrew because we were no longer able to carry out the mission for which we had been sent in, but we went in the interest of peace and to keep them from getting into the civil war. i have no apologies of going on a peacekeeping mission.
>> haven't you done exactly the same thing in lebanon, not once but three times with 300 americans, not hostages, but dead, and you tout against retaliation against terrorism, but doesn't your lack of response suggest you are just bluffing? >> morton, no. i believe there's a great difference between the government of iran threatening our diplomatic personnel, and there's a government you can see and put your hand on. in the terrorists situation there are terrorists factions -- in the recent 30-day period, 37 terrorists acts have been completed, the most recent in brighten. in terrorists acts, 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 terrorists problem and it will take all the nations together just as when we banded together we revolved the whole problem of sky jackings sometime ago. well, the red light went on. i could have gone on forever. >> mr. mondale, your rebuttal? >> groucho marks said, who do you believe, me or your own eyes? 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 barracks because they were undefendable. the report following the explosions in the barracks disclosed we did not take any of the steps we should have taken.
7 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 the explosives were on their way, and they were not taken. the terrorists won each time. the president told the terrorists he was going to retaliate. he didn't. they called his bluff. 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 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 based on what they thought was best for the men there. that is one. the other things you 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 they are going to go to paradise if they perpetrate such an act and lose their life in doing it. we are going to, as i 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. but we are not simply going to kill some people to say look we got even. we want to know when we retaliate we are retaliating with those who are responsible for the terrorist acts. terrorist acts are such that our own yids capitol in washington has been bombed twice. >> mr. truity, your question to president reagan. >> mr. president, i want to raise an issue i think has been lurking out there for two or three weeks and cast it specifically in national security terms. you are already the oldest president in history. some of your staff say you are
tired after your encounter about mr. mondale. i recall that president kennedy had to go for days on end with very little sleep during the ruban missile crisis. is there any doubt in your mind that you would be able to function under certain circumstances? >> not at all. 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. [ laughter ] if i still have time, i might add -- i might add, 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 would like to head for the fence and try to catch that one
before it goes over. but i will go on to another question. you and mr. mondale disagreed about what you said about recalling submarines launches. there is another statement out there that said that you were unaware that the soviet retaliatory power was based on land based missiles. first; is that correct? secondly, have you informed in the meantime. third is the necessary for the president to be so intimately involved in strategic details? >> yes, this had to do with our disarmament talks. the whole controversy about land missiles came up because we thought the destabilizing missiles, you put your thumb on a button and swrb blows up 20 minutes later. we made it a priority to deal with those and second phase take up the airborne missiles. the soviet union, to our surprise, not just mine made it
plain when they brought it that they placed they thought a greater reliance on the land based missiles and therefore they wanted to take up all three. we said all right. that's okay. if that's what you want to do. it was a surprise to us because they outnumbered us withu more submarines and bombers than we had. why should we believe they had placed that much importance on land based? after that, we said let's discuss it all. they walked away are the table. >> i am going to hang in there, should the president's age and stamina be at issue. >> no. i haven't made it so. what is at issue is the president's abdication of his authority to understand what a president must know to lead this decision, 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 for the problems at the barracks in lebanon, where 241 marines were killed. what happened? first, the joint chiefs of staff went to the president, 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 secretary of defense, and said please, mr. president, take those troops out of there because we can't defend them. they didn't do it. and we know what happened. after that. once again, our embassy was exploded. this is the fourth time this has happened. an identical attack in the same region despite warnings, even public warn prosecution the terrorists. who is in charge? who is handling this mess?
that's my main point? now, in arms control, we are 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 three and a half 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 perhaps the nation's most respected author in this or deal concludes that the 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 commander in chief. good intentions i grant. but it takes more than that you must be tough and smart. >> this question of leadership keepz arising in different forms in this discussion already. and the president, mr. mondale, has called you whining and vacillating, among the more charitable phrases, weak. he has made the point that you have not repudiated some of the diplomatic activity of the reverend jackson, particularly on central america. did you approve of his diplomatic activity? are you prepared to repudiate him now? >> i read his statement the other day. i don't admire fidel castro at all. and i have said that, which he guevara was a contemptible figure in civilization's history. i know the cuban state as a police state. and all my life i have worked in
a way that demonstrates that. jesse jackson is an independent person. i don't control him. let's talk about people we do control. in the last debate, the vice president of the united states said that i said the marines had died shamefully and died in shame in lebanon. i demanded an apology from vice president bush because i had instead honored these young men, grieved for their families, and think they were wonderful americans that honored us all. what does the president have to say about taking responsibility for a vice president who won't apologize for something like that? >> mr. president, your rebuttal. >> yes. i know it will come as a surprise to mr. mondale but i am in charge. we haven't avoided arms talks with the soviet union. very early in my administration i proposed and i think something that had never been proposed by
any previous administration i prepared a total elimination of intermediate range missiles where the soviet had better than a ton and still have better than a ten to one advantage over the allies in europe. when they protested that and suggested a smaller number perhaps i went along with that. the so-called negotiation that you said i walked out was the so-called walk in the wood between one of our representatives and one of the soviet union. it wasn't mean that turned it down. the soviet union disavowed it. >> mr. mondale, your rebuttal? >> there are two distinguished authors on arms control in this country. there are many others, but two that i want cite tonight. one is strobe talbott in his classic book, deadly gam about it. the other is john knew house one of the most distinguished in our country. both said that this administration turned down the walk in the woods agreement first and that would have been
the perfect agreement from the standpoint of the united states and europe and our security. when mr. nhtsa a good negotiator, returned he was rebuked and his boss was fired. this is the kind of leadership that we have had in this administration on the most deadly issue of our time. now we have a runaway arms race. all they have got to the 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. but all previous presidents have made progress. this one has not. >> ms. guyer, your question to mr. mondale. >> mr. mondale many analysts are now 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 is the only real territorial threat to the
american nation state. you yourself said in the 1970s that quote a quote hemorrhage on our borders. unquote. yet today you have backed off any immigration reform such as the simple on the ma zoely bill. why? what would you do today instead, if anything? >> this is a serious problem in our country, and i think it has to be dealt with. i objected to that part of the simpson mazzola bill that i think is unfair and hard to do so. that requires employers to determine the citizenship of their employee before they are hired. i concluded people who are hispanic or who have different languages or speak with an he can sent with find it difficult to be employed. i think that's wrong. we have never had citizenship tests in our country before. and i don't think we should have a citizenship card today.
that is counter-productive. i do support the other aspect of the simpson mi zoely bill that strengthen enforcement at the border, strengthen other ways of dealing with undocumented workers in this difficult area and dealing with the problem of settling people who have lived here for many many years and do not have an established status of i have further strongly recommended that this administration do something it has not done. and that is to strengthen enforcement at the border, strengthen the administration in this government that deal with undocumented workers, in a way that's efficient and constitutional. we need an answer to this problem but it maybe an american answer that 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 has served all of our most bountiful
dreams. one of those dreams is justice. i will support a measure that avoids that one aspect that i think is very serious. second part is to maintain and improve else relations with our friends to the south. we cannot solve this problem all on our own. a solution would be to deal with this in an effective way with mexico, costa rica and other nations to try to find a peaceful resolution to the dispute in central america which affects our ability to deal with this diplomatically as well. >> people as well balanced and justice as father -- of notre dame to headed the select commission on immigration have pointed out repeatedly there will not be no immigration reform without employer sanctions because it would be an
unbalanced bill and there would be no way to enforce 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, or hispanic leadership groups who actually do not re7 sent what the hispanic americans want. because polls show that they overwhelmingly want some kind of immigration reform. 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 that this is an example of your flip-flopping and giving in to special interest groups at the expense of the american nation? >> i think your right that the polls show that the majority of specks want that bill. so i am not doing it for political reasons. i am doing it because all of my life i have fought for a system
of justice in this country. a system in which every american has a chance to achieve the fullness in life without discrimination this. bill imposes upon employers the responsibility of determining whether somebody who apply force a job is an american or not. and just inevitably, they are going to be reluctant to hire hispanics or people with a different accent. if i were dealing with politics here, the polls show the american people want this. i am for reform in this area for tough inferment at the border and many other aspects of the simpson mi zola bill. all my life i fought for a fair nation. despite the politics of it i stand where i stand. i think i am right and before this is over worry going to come up with a better bill, a more effective pill that does not undermine the liberties of our american people. >> mr. president, you, too, have said that our borders are out of
control, yet this fall you allowed the simpleson mi zoely bill which would be at least minimally protected our borders and the rights of citizenship. because of a relatively unimportant issue of reimbursements to the states for illegal aliens. given that, may i ask what priority can we expect to you give this forgotten national security element. how sincere are you in our proposal to support the united state of the united states. >> there were things added in in the house state to the senate bill that passed that we felt made it less of a good bill, matter of fact, made ate bad bill. in conference -- we stayed with them all the way through conference to where even senator simpleson didn't want the will that could come out of the conference committee. there were a number of things in
there that would weaken that bill. i can't go into tail here. but it is true that our borders are out of control. it is also true it has been a situation on our borders back through a number of administrations. and i supported this bill, i believe in the idea of amnesty for those who have put down roots and who have lived here even though sometime back they may have entered illegally. with regard to the employer sanctions, this -- we must have that. not only to insure that we can identify the illegal aliens, but also, while some keep protest being what it would do to employers, there is another employer that we shouldn't be so concerned about. and these are employers down through the years who have encouraged the illegal entry into this country because they then hire these individuals and hire them at starvation wages and with none of the benefits that we think are normal and
natural for workers in our country. and the individuals can't complain because of their illegal status. we don't think that those people should be allowed to continue operating free. this was why we had provisions in with regard to sanction asks so forth. i am going to do everything i can, and al of us in administration are, to join in again when congress is back at it to get an immigration bill that will give us once again control of our borders. and with regard to friendship below the border and with the countries down there, yes, no administration that i know has established the relationship that we have with our latin friends. but as long as they have an economy that leaves 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. >> mr. president, the experts also say that the situation
today is terribly different quantitatively, qualitatively different from what it has been in the past because of the gigantic population growth. for instance mexico's population will go from about 60 million today to 120 million at the turn of the accept tree. many of these people will be coming into the united states not as citizens but as illegal workers. you have repeatedly said recently that you believe that arm-geddon, the destruction of the world, may be imminent in the world in our times. do you feel we are in a situation, in time of anarchy regarding the population explosion in the world? >> no. as a matter of fact, the population explosion, if you look at the actual figures, has been vastly exaggerated, overactionage rated. as a matter of fact there are some pretty scientific and solid figures about how much space there still is in the world and
how many more people we could have. it's almost like going back to the malthusian theory when even then they were saying that everyone would starve with the population they had then. 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, in mexico, where their population is increasing and they don't have an economy that can absorb them and provide the jobs. and this is what we are trying to work out not only to protect our own borders, but to have some kind of fairness and recognition of that problem. >> mr. mondale, your rebuttal? >> one of the biggest problems today is that the countries the our south are so desperately poor that these people who will almost lose their lives if they don't come north come north despite all the risks.
and if we are going to find a permanent fundamental answer to this, it goes to american economic and trade policies that permit these nations to have a chance to get onto their own two feet and to get prosperity so that they can have jobs for themselves and their people. that's why this enormous national debt engineered by this administration is harming these countries and fuelling this immigration. these high interest rates, real rates that have doubled under this administration, have had the same effect on mexico and so on. and the cost of repaying those debts is so enormous that it results in massive unemployment, hardship, and heartache. and that drives our friends to the south up into our region and we need to end those deficits as well. >> mr. president, your rebuttal? >> my rebuttal is i have heard the national debt blames for a lot of things but not for illegal immigration across our
border, and it has nothing to do with it. but with regard to these high interest rates, too, at least give us the recognition of the fact that when you left office, mr. mondale, they were 21.5, the prime rate, it is now 12.25, and i predict it will be coming down a little more shortly. so we are trying to undo some of the things that your administration did. >> mr. dekalb. >> you have been quoted as saying you do believe deep down we are heading for some kind of dibblecal arm get-geddon. your pentagon and your secretary of defense have plans for the united states to fight and prevail in a nuclear war. do you feel that we are now heading, perhaps, for some kind of nuclear arm-geddon? and do you feel that this country and the world could survive that kind of calamity. >> i think what has been hailed i am supposedly as president
discussing as principle is the recoil of just some sill some ofical discussions with people who are interested in the same things. and that is the prophecies down through the years, the biblical prophecies of what would portend the coming of arma-geddon and so forth. in fact the number of theologians the last decade or more have believed that this was true, the prophecies coming together that portend that. nobody knows whether those prophecies mean that armageddon is 1,000 years a way or day after tomorrow. i never seriously warned that we must plan with regard to armageddon. now as far as having conversations whether or not we would your vive after a nuclear war, of course we have.
i have made a statement. a nuclear war cannot be won, and must never be fought. and that is why we are maintaining a deterrent and trying to achieve a deterrent capacity to where no one would believe that they could start such a war and escape with limited damage. but the deterrent -- and that's what it is for -- is also what led me to propose what is now being called the star wars consent but led me to propose if we couldn't see if there was a defensive weapon that could defend against such incoming missile. if a defense could be found wouldn't it be far more humanitarian to say now we can defend against a nuclear war by destroying missiles instead of slaughtering millions of people in. >> mr. president when you made that proposal, the so-called
star wars proposal, you said, if i am not mistaken, that you would share this very super sophisticated technology with the soviet union. after all of the distrust over the years, sir, that you have expressed towards the soviet union, do you really expect anyone to take seriously that offer, that you would share the best of america's technology in this weapons area with our principle adversary? >> why not? what if we did? and i hope we can -- we are still referencing. what if we come up with a weapon that renders those missiles obsolete? there has never been a weapon invented in the history of man that has not led to a defensive, a counter-weapon. but suppose supposing we came up with that. now, some people said that would make it war imminent because they would think now we can launch a first strike because we can defend against the enemy. 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. now, will you sit down with us and once for for all, get rid, 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 very sharply critical of the president's strategic defense initiative. yet, what is wrong with a major effort by this country to try use its best technology to knock out as many incoming nuclear war heads as possible? >> first of all i may sharply disagree with the president on sharing the most advanced, most dangerous, the most important technology in america with the soviet union. we have had, for many years, understandably, a system of restraints on high technology because the soviets are behind this and any reference or development along the star wars
scenes would inevitably involved our most advanced communitiers, most advanced engineering. the thought we would share with the soviet union is a total non-starter. i would not let the soviet union get their hands on it at all. what's wrong with star wars? there is nothing wrong with the theory of it. if we could develop a principle that could say both sides could fire all of their missiles and no one would get hurt, i suppose that's a good idea. but the fact is that we are so far away from research that even comes close to that that the decker of the yearing and research department said in order get there we would have to solve eight problems each of which are more difficult than atomic bomb and the manhattan project. it would cost something like $1 trillion to test and deploy weapons. the second thing is, that all assumes that the soviets
wouldn't respond in kind, which they always do. we won't behind, and they won't get behind. that's been the tragic story of the arms race. we have more at stake in space satellites than they do. if we could stop right now the testing and deployment of these space weapons -- the president's comments go clear beyond research. if it was just research we haven't have any argument because maybe some day somebody will come up with something. but to commit at this time with weapons in their crude state would bring about an arms race that's very dangerous indeed. one final point. the most dangerous aspect of this propose sl is for the first time we will he delegate to computers the decision as to whether to start a war. that's dead wrong. there wouldn't be time for a president to decide. it would be decided by these remote computers. it might be an oil fire. might be a jet exhaust.
the computer might decide it is a missile and off we go. why don't we stop this madness now and trau a line and keep the heavens free from war. >> mr. mondale n this general area, sir of arms control president carter's -- advise brzezinski said the nuclear freeze is a hoax, unquote. in your view, which specific weapon systems could be subject to a mutual and verifiable freeze, which could not? >> every system that is verifiable should be placed on the table for negotiations for an agreement. i would not agree to any negotiations or any agreement that involved conduct on the part of the soviet union that we couldn't verify every day.
i would not agree to any agreement in which the united states' security interest was not fully recognized and supported. that's why we say mutual and verifiable freezes. now, why do i support the freeze? because this ever-rising arms race madness makes both nations less secure. it's more difficult to defend this nation. it is putting a hair trigger on nuclear war. this administration, by going into the star wars system, is going to add a dangerous new he is ka igs lass. we have tore to be tough on the society yet union but i think the people of soviet union want it to stop. >> time up is, mr. mondale. president reagan, your rebuttal? >> yes, my rebuttal once again is this invention that's just
been created here about how i would go about rolling over for the soviet union. mr., mondale, no, my requested would be with that defensive weapon that we would sit down with them and then say now are you willing to join us, give them a demonstration and then say here's what we can do. now if you are ready to join us in getting ri of all of the nuclear weapons in the world then we will give you this one so we would both know that no one can cheat. we have boat got something if anyone tries to cheat. when you keep star warring it. i never suggested where the weapons should be, or the kind. i am not a scientist. i said and joint chiefs of staff agreed with me that it was time for us to turning our research ability to see if we could not find this kind of a defensive weapon. somebody says it has got to be up there in the star wars and so forth. i don't know where it would be but if we could come up with one
i think the world would be better off. >> mr. mondale, what's your rebuttal. >> that's what a president is supposed to know. if they are space weapons, i assume they would be in space. if they are anti-satellite weapons i would suggest they would be among satellites. the soviets fry to spy on us, steal our stuff, and to give them this kind of technology i would disagree with. you have not just set up research. you are set up a strategic defense initiative, you set up a agency, you are preparing to test, deploying. you are asking for $30 million for this purpose. this is a 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 some day somebody comes along with an answer that's something else.
but that there would be an answer in our lifetime is unimaginable. why do we start things that we know the soviet will match and make us all less secure. >> mr. condirecty your question to mr. mondale. >> you say that with respect to the soviet union you want to negotiate a mutual nuclear freeze yet you would give up the mx missile and the b 1 bomber before the talks have begun. and you have announced that reaching an agreement with the soviets is the most important thing to you. around you giving away half the store before you even sit down to talk? >> matter of fact we have a vast range of technology and weaponry right now that provides all the bargaining chips that we need. i support the air launch cruise missile, the ship launched ruse mitchell, the trident submarine, d-5 submarine, stealth technology, the midget man, we have a whole range of technology. why i disagree with the mx is
that it is a sitting duck. it will draw an attack. it puts a hair trigger, and it is a dangerous, destabilizing weapon. and the b 1 is similarly to be opposed because 15 years the soviet union has been preparing to meet the b 1. the secretary of defense himself said it would be a suicide mission if it were built. instead i want to build the midget man, mobile, less vulnerable, contributing to stability and a weapon that will give us security and contribute to arms control. that's why i am for stealth technology, to build a stealth bomber that had penetrate the soviet air defense system without any hope that they can perceive where it is because their radar system is frustrated. in other words, a president has to make changes. this makes us stronger. the final point is that we can use the money that we save on
these weapons to spend on thing that we really need, our conventional strength in europe is understrengthed. we need to strengthen that in order to assure our western allies of our presence there a strong defense. but also to diminish and reduce the likelihood of a commentment of a war and the news of nuclear weapons. it is in this way by making wise choices that we are stronger, enhanced the chances of arms control. every president since this one has been able to do it and this world, the nation is more dangerous as a result. >> i want to follow up on mr. kalb's question. it seems on the question of verifiability that you have problems with the extent of the freeze. it seems that testing would be difficult to elevator my. research would be impossible to verify. numbers of war head would be impossible to elevator fight
except with on site inspection. in view of that, what is going to be frozen. >> i will not agree to any arm control agreement including a freeze that's not verifiable. let's take your war head principle. they have been counting rules for years. whenever a weapon is tested we count the number of war heads on it. whenever that war head is used we count that number of war heads. whether they have that number or less on it or not. these are standard rules. i will not agree to any production restrictions -- agreement, unless we have the ability to share phi those agreements. i don't russia the russians. i believe that every agreement we reach must be verifiable and i will not agree to anything in a we cannot tell every day. in other words we have got to be tough. but in order to stop this arms madness we have got to push ahead with tough negotiations that are verifiable so that we know the soviets are agreeing and living up to their
agreement. >> mr. president i want to ask you a question about negotiating with friends. you severely criticized president carter for helping to undermine two friendly dictators who got into problem with their own people, the shaw of iran and the president of nicaragua. now the president of chile and the president of philippines are coming under the same problem. what should you do? >> i did criticize our president for the undercutting of your ally, the shaw of iran. and i did not believe he was that far out of line with his people or that they wanted that to happen. the shah had done our bidding and carried our load in the middle east for quite some time. and i did think that it was a blot on our record that we let him down. have things gotten better, the
shah, whatever he might have done, was building low-cost housing, taken land away from the mullahs and distributing it to the peasants so they could be land owners. things of that kind. but we turned it over to a maniacal fanatic who has slaughtered thousands asks thousands of people calling it executions. the matter of sim ossa, no. i never defended sim ossa. matter of fact, the previous administration stood by -- not that i could have done anything in my position at that time, but for this revolution to take place. and the promise of the revolution was democracy, human rights, free labor yunsz, free press. then just as castro had done in cuba the sandist inas ousted the other parties to the revolution. many are now the contras. they exkyledsome, jailed some, murdered some.
and they installed a marxisten innonist totaltarian government. what i have to say about this -- many times -- this has to to with the philippines also, i know there are things there in the philippines that do not look good to us right now from the standpoint of democratic rights 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. and i think that we have had enough of a record of letting, under the guise of revolution, someone that we thought was a little more right than we would be, letting that person go and then winding up with totalitarianism, pure and simple, as the alternative. and i think this that we are better off, for example, with the philippines trying to retain our friendship and helping right the wrongs we see rather than throwing them to the wolves and
then facing a communist power in the pacific. >> mr. president, since the yids has two strategically important bases in the philippines, who the overthrow of president marcos constitute a threat to vital interests? >> as i said we would have to look at what an overthrew would mean and the government would follow. there is every indication that that government would be hostile to the united states. that would be a severe blow to our abilities there in the pacific. >> what would you do about it? >> sorry. sorry, you asked the follow-up question. mr. mondale, your rebuttal. >> perhaps in no area do we disagree more than this administration's policies on human rights. i went to the philippines as very much, pressed for human rights, called to the alias of aquino and made progress that
had been tauld on two airbases. what explains this cozying up to the argentine dictators after the -- took over. what happens in south africa where 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 we are for human little bit it. national security and human rights must go together. but this administration, time and time again, has lost its way in this field. >> president reagan, your rebuttal? >> well. the invasion of afghanistan didn't take place on our watch. i have described what has happened in iran. and we weren't here then either.
i don't think that our records of human rights can be asailed. i think that we have observed ourselves and have done our best to see that human rights arics tended throughout the world. mr. mondale recently announced a plan of his to get the democracies together and to work with the whole world toll turn to democracy. and i was glad to hear him say that, because that's what we have been doing ever since i announced to the british parliament that i thought we should do this. and human rights are not advanced when at the same time you then stand back and say whoops, we didn't know the gun was loaded and you have another totalitarian power on your hands. >> in this suggment, because of the pressure of time, there will be no rebuttals and there will be no follow-up questions. mr. truette, your question -- >> one president to each candidate. >> one question to each president.
>> mr. president, please correct me if i'm wrong me if i misquote you but i understood you to say if the development of space technology was successful you might give the soviets a demonstration and say here it is which sounds you might be trying to gain the sort of advantage where you would be able to dictate terms which i would then suggest would involve the nuclear deterrence in which we in effect hold each other hostage. >> it seems to me that could be a logical step in what is my ultimate goal, my ultimate dream ask. that is the him inlation of nuclear weapons in the world. and it seems to me that this should 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 a very interesting proposal to see if we can find, first of all, something that renders those weapons objects late, incapable of their mission. mr. mondale seems to approve m.a.d., mutual assured destruction. meaning if you use your weapons on us we will kill as many people of yours as you kill of ours. i think we have to do everything we can to find something to destroy weapons and not humans is a great step forward in human rights. >> mr. mondale could i ask you to address nuclear strategy. the formal document is very archean but i ask you to deal with it. do you agree with m.a.d., mutual action deterrence as has been practiced in the last decade. >> i believe in -- in the
meantime we have to be strong enough to make sure that the soviet union never tempts us. here we have to decide between generalized objectives and reality. the president says he wants to eliminate or reduce the number of nuclear weapons. in fact, these last four years have seen more weapons built a wider and more vigorous arms race, than in human history. he says he wants a system that will make nuclear arms wars safe so nobody is going to get hurt. well, maybe some day somebody can dream of that. why start an arms race now? why destabilize our relationship? why threaten our speight satellites upon which we depend? why pursue a strategy that would delegate to computers the question of starting a war? a president, to defend this
country, and to get arms control, must master what's going on. we all accept his objective and his dreams. we all do. but the hard reality is that we must know what we are doing and pursue those objectives that are possible in our time. he has opposed every effort of every president to do so. in the four years of administration he has failed to do so. if you want a tough president who uses that strength to get arms control and draws the line in the heavens vote for walter mondale. >> we have 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, will you go first. >> i want to thank you of league of women voters, the good citizens of kansas city, and president reagan for agreeing to debate this evening. this evening, we talked about national strength. i believe we need to be strong.
and i will keep us strong. but i think strength must also require wisdom and smarts in its exercise. that's key to the strength of our nation. a president must know the essential facts, essential to command. but a president must also have a vision of where this nation should go. tonight as americans you have a choice. you are entitled to know where we would take this country if you decide to elect us. as president, i would press for long term vigorous economic growth. that's why i want to get these debts down and these interest rates down, restore america's exports, help rural america, which is suffering so much, 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 so we are out front. i want this nation to protect its air, his water, its land, and its 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 of fairness, where no one is denied the fullness of life or discriminated against, and we deal compassionately with those in our midst who are in trouble. and above all, i want a nation that's strong. since we debated two weeks ago, united states and the soviet union have built 100 more war heads, enough to kill millions of americans, and millions of soviet citizens. this doesn't strengthen us. this weakens the chances of civilization to survive. i remember the night before i
became vice president. i was given the briefing and told that any time, night or day, i might be called upon to make the most fateful decision on earth, whether to fire these atomic weapons that could destroy the human species. that lesson tells us two things. one, pick a president that you know will know if that tragic moment ever comes, what he must know, because there will be no time for staffing, committees, or advisers. a president must know right then. but above all, pick a president who will fight to avoid the day when that god awful decision ever needs to be made. and that's why this election is so terribly important. america, and americans, decide not just what's 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. in a very profound respect you are providing the future -- deciding the future, of the world. we need to move on. it's time for america to find new leadership. please join me in this cause to move confidently and with a sense of assurance and command to build the blessed future of our nation. [ applause ] >> president reagan, your summation, please. >> yes, my thanks to the league of women voters, to the panelists, to the moderator, and to the people of kansas city for their warm hospitality and greeting. i think the american people tonight have much to be grateful for, an economic recovery that has become expansion.
freedom. and most of all, we are at peace. i am grateful for the chance to reaffirm my commitment to reduce nuclear weapons and one day to eliminate 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? the -- we shouldn't be dwelling on the past or even the present. the meaning of this election is the future. and whether we are going to grow and provide the jobs and the opportunities for all americans that they need. several years ago, i was given an assignment to write a letter.
it was to go into a time capsule and would be read in 100 years when that time capsule was opened. i remember driving down the california coast one day. my mind was full about what was i was going to put in the letter about the problems and issues that confront us in this time and the solutions we put around them. but i couldn't deny the beautye of the ocean on one side, the mountains on the other side. i wondered if someone driving down the same highway 100 years from now would see the same thing. with that i realized what 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 solved 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 aimed at each other capability of crossing the ocean in a matter of minutes and destroying civilization as we knew it. and then i thought to myself, what -- what 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 or not. well, what they will say about us 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 100
years or perhaps before, someone will say, thank god for those people back in the 19 80s for preserving our freedom, for saving for us this blessed planet called earth, with all of its grandure and its beauty. you know, i am grateful to all of you for giving me the opportunity to serve you for these four years. and i seek re-election 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 is one of the finest vice presidents this country has ever had -- george bush and i have crisscrossed the country, and we have had, in these last few months, a wonderful experience. we have met young america. we have met your sons and daughters. >> mr. president, i am obliged to cut you off there under the rules of the debate. i'm sorry. >> all right. >> boo. >> i was just going to -- okay.
[ applause ] >> perhaps i should point out that the rules under which i did that were agreed upon by the two campaigns with the league as you know, sir. >> i know, yes. >> thank, mr. president, mr. mondale, thanks to the panel, the league of women voters asks me to say to you, don't forget to vote on november 6th. [ applause ]
young people and military veterans alike converged on washington, d.c. in the spring of 1971. more than 7,000 of them were arrested in a single day. american history tv and c-span's journal look back 50 years on the forces that collided on our capitol's streets. our guest is lawrence rlkts author of may day 1971, a white house at war, a revolt in theities streets and the untold history of america's biggest mass arrests. watch tonight beginning at 8:00 p.m. eastern and enjoy american history tv every weekend on c-span3. ♪♪