tv 1980 Presidential Candidates Debate CSPAN September 25, 2016 4:16am-5:21am EDT
done away with the jobs that they once could get. and indeed, every time it has increased, you will find there is an increase in minority unemployment among young people. and therefore, i have been in favor of a separate minimum for them. with regard to the great progress that has been made with this government spending, the rate of black unemployment in detroit, michigan is 56%. mr. smith: president carter, you have the last word on this question. pres. carter: it's obvious that we still have a long way to go in fully incorporating the minority groups into the mainstream of american life. we have made good progress, and there is no doubt in my mind that the commitment to unemployment compensation, the minimum wage, welfare, national health insurance, those kinds of commitments that have typified the democratic party since ancient history in this country's political life are a very important element of the future. in all those elements, governor reagan has repeatedly spoken out against them, which, to me,
shows a very great insensitivity to giving deprived families a better chance in life. this, to me, is a very important difference between him and me in this election, and i believe the american people will judge accordingly. there is no doubt in my mind that in the downtown central cities, with the -- with the new commitment on an energy policy, with a chance to revitalize homes and to make them more fuel efficient, with a chance for our synthetic fuels program, solar power, this will give us an additional opportunity for jobs which will pay rich dividends. now, a question from barbara walters. ms. walters: mr. president, the eyes of the country tonight are on the hostages in iran. i realize this is a sensitive area, but the question of how we respond to acts of terrorism goes beyond this current crisis. other countries have policies that determine how they will
respond. israel, for example, considers hostages like soldiers and will not negotiate with terrorists. for the future, mr. president, the country has a right to know, do you have a policy for dealing with terrorism wherever it might happen, and, what have we learned from this experience in iran that might cause us to do things differently if this, or something similar, happens again? pres. carter: barbara, one of the blights on this world is the threat and the activities of terrorists. at one of the recent economic summit conferences between myself and the other leaders of the western world, we committed ourselves to take strong action against terrorism. airplane hijacking was one of the elements of that commitment. there is no doubt that we have seen in recent years -- in recent months -- additional acts of violence against jews in france and, of course, against those who live in israel, by the plo and other terrorist organizations.
ultimately, the most serious terrorist threat is if one of those radical nations, who believe in terrorism as a policy, should have atomic weapons. both i and all my predecessors have had a deep commitment to controlling the proliferation of nuclear weapons. in countries like libya or iraq, we have even alienated some of our closest trade partners because we have insisted upon the control of the spread of nuclear weapons to those potentially terrorist countries. when governor reagan has been asked about that, he makes the very disturbing comment that non-proliferation, or the control of the spread of nuclear weapons, is none of our business. and when he was asked specifically recently about iraq, he said there is nothing we can do about it. this ultimate terrorist threat is the most fearsome of all, and it's part of a pattern where our country must stand firm to control terrorism of all kinds.
mr. smith: ms. walters, a follow-up? ms. walters: while we are discussing policy, had iran not taken american hostages, i assume that in order to preserve our neutrality, we would have stopped the flow of spare parts and vital war materials once war broke out between iraq and iran. now we're offering to lift the ban on such goods if they let our people come home. doesn't this reward terrorism, compromise our neutrality, and possibly antagonize nations now friendly to us in the middle east? pres. carter: we will maintain our position of neutrality in the iran and iraq war. we have no plans to sell additional materiel or goods to iran, that might be of a warlike nature. when i made my decision to stop all trade with iran as a result of the taking of our hostages, i announced then and have consistently maintained since
then that if the hostages are released safely, that we would make delivery on those items which iran owns -- which they have bought and paid for -- also, that the frozen iranian assets would be released. that's been a consistent policy, one i intend to carry out. mr. smith: would you repeat the question now for governor reagan, please, ms. walters? ms. walters: yes. governor, the eyes of the country tonight remain on the hostages in iran, but the question of how we respond to acts of terrorism goes beyond this current crisis. there are other countries that have policies that determine how they will respond. israel, for example, considers hostages like soldiers and will not negotiate with terrorists. for the future, the country has the right to know, do you have a policy for dealing with terrorism wherever it might happen, and what have we learned from this experience in iran that might cause us to do things differently if this, or something similar, should happen again? gov. reagan: barbara, you've asked that question twice. i think you ought to have at least one answer to it. [laughter]
gov. reagan: i have been accused lately of having a secret plan with regard to the hostages. now, this comes from an answer that i've made at least 50 times during this campaign to the press, when i am asked have you any ideas of what you would do if you were there? and i said, well, yes. and i think that anyone that's seeking this position, as well as other people probably, have thought to themselves, what about this, what about that? these are just ideas of what i would think of if i were in that position and had access to the information, and which i would know all the options that were open to me. i have never answered the question, however second, the one that says, well, tell me, what are some of those ideas? first of all, i would be fearful that i might say something that was presently under way or in negotiations, and thus expose it and endanger the hostages, and sometimes, i think some of my
ideas might involve quiet diplomacy where you don't say in advance, or say to anyone, what it is you're thinking of doing. your question is difficult to answer because, in the situation right now, no one wants to say anything that would inadvertently delay, in any way, the return of those hostages if there are -- if there is a chance that they're coming home soon, or that might cause them harm. what i do think should be done, once they are safely here with their families and that tragedy is over -- we've endured this humiliation for just lacking one week of a year now -- then, i think, it is time for us to have a complete investigation as to the diplomatic efforts that were made in the beginning, why they have been there so long, and when they came home, what did we have to do in order to bring that about -- what arrangements were made? and i would suggest that congress should hold such an investigation. in the meantime, i'm going to continue praying that they'll
come home. mr. smith: follow-up question. ms. walters: i would like to say that neither candidate answered specifically the question of a specific policy for dealing with terrorism, but i will ask governor reagan a different follow-up question. you have suggested that there would be no iranian crisis had you been president, because we would have given firmer support to the shah. but iran is a country of 37 million people who are resisting a government that they regarded as dictatorial. my question is not whether the shah's regime was preferable to the ayatollah's, but whether the united states has the power or the right to try to determine what form of government any country will have, and do we back unpopular regimes whose major merit is that they are friendly to the united states? gov. reagan: the degree of unpopularity of a regime when the choice is total authoritarianism -- totalitarianism, i should say, in the alternative government, makes one wonder whether you are being helpful to the people. and we've been guilty of that. because someone didn't meet
exactly our standards of human rights, even though they were an ally of ours, instead of trying patiently to persuade them to change their ways, we have, in a number of instances, aided a revolutionary overthrow which results in complete totalitarianism, instead, for those people. i think that this is a kind of a hypocritical policy when, at the same time, we're maintaining a detente with the one nation in the world where there are no human rights at all -- the soviet union. now, there was a second phase in the iranian affair in which we had something to do with that. and that was, we had adequate warning that there was a threat to our embassy, and we could have done what other embassies did -- either strengthen our security there or remove our personnel before the kidnap and the takeover took place. mr. smith: governor, i'm sorry, i must interrupt. president carter, you have a minute for rebuttal. pres. carter: i didn't hear any comment from governor reagan about what he would do to stop or reduce terrorism in the
future. what the western allies did decide to do is to stop all air flights -- commercial air flights -- to any nation involved in terrorism or the hijacking of airplanes or the harboring of hijackers. secondly, we all committed ourselves, as have all my predecessors in the oval office, not to permit the spread of nuclear weapons to a terrorist nation, or to any other nation that does not presently have those weapons or capabilities for explosives. third, not to make any sales of materiel or weapons to a nation which is involved in terrorist activities. and, lastly, not to deal with the plo until and unless the plo recognizes israel's right to exist and recognizes u.n. resolution 242 as a basis for middle east peace. these are a few of the things to which our nation is committed, and we will continue with these commitments. mr. smith: governor reagan, you have the last word on that question. gov. reagan: yes. i have no quarrel whatsoever with the things that have been done, because i believe it is
high time that the civilized countries of the world made it plain that there is no room worldwide for terrorism, there will be no negotiation with terrorists of any kind. and while i have a last word here, i would like to correct a misstatement of fact by the president. i have never made the statement that he suggested about nuclear proliferation and nuclear proliferation, or the trying to halt it, would be a major part of a foreign policy of mine. mr. smith: thank you, gentlemen. that is the first half of the debate. now, the rules for the second half are quite simple. they're only complicated when i explain them. [laughter] mr. smith: in the second half, the panelists with me will have no follow-up questions. instead, after the panelists have asked a question and the candidates have answered, each of the candidates will have two opportunities to follow-up, to question, to rebut, or just to comment on his opponent's statement. governor reagan will respond in this section to the first question from marvin stone.
mr. stone: governor reagan -- arms control. the president said it was the single most important issue. both of you have expressed the desire to end the nuclear arms race with russia, but by methods that are vastly different. you suggest that we scrap the salt ii treaty already negotiated and intensify the build-up of american power to induce the soviets to sign a new treaty -- one more favorable to us. president carter, on the other hand, says he will again try to convince a reluctant congress to ratify the present treaty on the grounds it's the best we can hope to get. now, both of you cannot be right. will you tell us why you think you are? gov. reagan: yes. i think i'm right because i believe that we must have a consistent foreign policy, a strong america, and a strong economy. and then, as we build up our national security, to restore
our margin of safety, we at the same time try to restrain the soviet build-up, which has been going forward at a rapid pace and for quite some time. the salt ii treaty was the result of negotiations that mr. carter's team entered into after he had asked the soviet union for a discussion of actual reduction of nuclear strategic weapons. and his emissary, i think, came home in 12 hours having heard a very definite nyet. but taking that one no from the soviet union, we then went back into negotiations on their terms, because mr. carter had canceled the b-i bomber, delayed the mx, delayed the trident submarine, delayed the cruise missile, shut down the missile man -- the three -- the minuteman missile production line, and whatever other things that might have been done. the soviet union sat at the
table knowing that we had gone forward with unilateral concessions without any reciprocation from them whatsoever. now, i have not blocked the salt ii treaty, as mr. carter and mr. mondale suggest i have. it has been blocked by a senate in which there is a democratic majority. indeed, the senate armed services committee voted 10 to 0, with seven abstentions, against the salt ii treaty and declared that it was not in the national security interests of the united states. besides which, it is illegal, because the law of the land, passed by congress, says that we cannot accept a treaty in which we are not equal. and we are not equal in this treaty for one reason alone -- our b-52 bombers are considered to be strategic weapons, their backfire bombers are not. mr. smith: governor, i have to interrupt you at that point. the time is up for that. but the same question now to president carter.
mr. stone: yes. president carter, both of you have expressed the desire to end the nuclear arms race with russia, but through vastly different methods. the governor suggests we scrap the salt ii treaty, which you negotiated in vienna, or signed in vienna, intensify the build-up of american power to induce the soviets to sign a new treaty, one more favorable to us. you, on the other hand, say you will again try to convince a reluctant congress to ratify the present treaty on the grounds it is the best we can hope to get from the russians. you cannot both be right. will you tell us why you think you are? pres. carter: yes, i'd be glad to. inflation, unemployment, the cities, all very important issues, but they pale into insignificance in the life and duties of a president when compared with the control of nuclear weapons. every president who has served
in the oval office since harry truman has been dedicated to the proposition of controlling nuclear weapons. to negotiate with the soviet union a balanced, controlled, observable, and then reducing levels of atomic weaponry, there is a disturbing pattern in the attitude of governor reagan. he has never supported any of those arms control agreements -- the limited test ban, salt i, nor the antiballistic missile treaty, nor the vladivostok treaty negotiated with the soviet union by president ford -- and now he wants to throw into the wastebasket a treaty to control nuclear weapons on a balanced and equal basis between ourselves and the soviet union, negotiated over a seven-year period by myself and my two republican predecessors. the senate has not voted yet on the strategic arms limitation treaty.
there have been preliminary skirmishings in the committees of the senate, but the treaty has never come to the floor of the senate for either a debate or a vote. it's understandable that a senator in the preliminary debates can make an irresponsible statement, or maybe an ill-advised statement. you've got 99 other senators to correct that mistake, if it is a mistake. but when a man who hopes to be president says, take this treaty, discard it, do not vote, do not debate, do not explore the issues, do not finally capitalize on this long negotiation -- that is a very dangerous and disturbing thing. mr. smith: governor reagan, you have an opportunity to rebut that. gov. reagan: yes, i'd like to respond very much. first of all, the soviet union -- if i have been critical of some of the previous agreements, it's because we've been out-negotiated for quite a long time.
and they have managed, in spite of all of our attempts at arms limitation, to go forward with the biggest military build-up in the history of man. now, to suggest that because two republican presidents tried to pass the salt treaty, that puts them on its side -- i would like to say that president ford, who was within 90% of a treaty that we could be in agreement with when he left office, is emphatically against this salt treaty. i would like to point out also that senators like henry jackson and hollings of south carolina -- they are taking the lead in the fight against this particular treaty. i am not talking of scrapping. i am talking of taking the treaty back and going back into negotiations. and i would say to the soviet union, we will sit and negotiate with you as long as it takes, to have not only legitimate arms limitation, but to have a reduction of these nuclear
weapons to the point that neither one of us represents a threat to the other. that is hardly throwing away a treaty and being opposed to arms limitation. mr. smith: president carter? pres. carter: yes. governor reagan is making some very misleading and disturbing statements. he not only advocates the scrapping of this treaty -- and i don't know that these men that he quotes are against the treaty in its final form -- but he also advocates the possibility -- he said it's been a missing element, of playing a trump card against the soviet union of a nuclear arms race, and is insisting upon nuclear superiority by our own nation, as a predication for negotiation in the future with the soviet union. if president brezhnev said, we will scrap this treaty, negotiated under three american presidents over a seven-year period of time, we insist upon nuclear superiority as a basis for future negotiations, and we believe that the launching of a
nuclear arms race is a good basis for future negotiations, it's obvious that i, as president, and all americans, would reject such a proposition. this would mean the resumption of a very dangerous nuclear arms race. it would be very disturbing to american people. it would change the basic tone and commitment that our nation has experienced ever since the second world war with all presidents, democratic and republican. and it would also be very disturbing to our allies, all of whom support this nuclear arms treaty. in addition to that, the adversarial relationship between ourselves and the soviet union would undoubtedly deteriorate very rapidly. this attitude is extremely dangerous and belligerent in its tone, although it's said with a quiet voice. mr. smith: governor reagan? gov. reagan: i know the president's supposed to be replying to me, but sometimes i have a hard time in connecting what he's saying with what i have said or what my positions are. i sometimes think he's like the
witch doctor that gets mad when a good doctor comes along with a cure that'll work. my point i have made already, mr. president, with regard to negotiating -- it does not call for nuclear superiority on the part of the united states. it calls for a mutual reduction of these weapons, as i say, that neither of us can represent a threat to the other. and to suggest that the salt ii treaty that your negotiators negotiated was just a continuation, and based on all of the preceding efforts by two previous presidents, is just not true. it was a new negotiation because, as i say, president ford was within about 10% of having a solution that could be acceptable. and i think our allies would be very happy to go along with a fair and verifiable salt agreement. mr. smith: president carter, you have the last word on this question. pres. carter: i think, to close
out this discussion, it would be better to put into perspective what we're talking about. i had a discussion with my daughter amy the other day before i came here, to ask her what the most important issue was. she said she thought nuclear weaponry and the control of nuclear arms. this is a formidable force. some of these weapons have 10 megatons of explosion. if you put 50 tons of tnt in each one of railroad cars, you would have a carload of tnt -- a trainload of tnt stretching across this nation. that's one major war explosion in a warhead. we have thousands, equivalent of megaton or million tons, of tnt warheads. the control of these weapons is the single major responsibility of a president, and to cast out this commitment of all
presidents because of some slight technicalities that can be corrected, is a very dangerous approach. mr. smith: we have to go to another question now, from harry ellis to president carter. mr. ellis: mr. president, as you have said, americans, through conservation, are importing much less oil today than we were even a year ago. yet u.s. dependence on arab oil as a percentage of total imports is today much higher than it was at the time of the 1973 arab oil embargo, and for some time to came, the loss of substantial amounts of arab oil could plunge the u.s. into depression. this means that a bridge must be built out of this dependence. can the united states develop synthetic fuels and other alternative energy sources without damage to the environment, and will this
process mean steadily higher fuel bills for american families? pres. carter: i don't think there's any doubt that, in the future, the cost of oil is going to go up. we will drill more oil and gas wells this year than any year in history. we will produce more coal this year than any year in history. we are exporting more coal this year than any year in history. and we have an opportunity now , with improved transportation systems and improved loading facilities in our ports, to see a very good opportunity on a world international market, to replace opec oil with american coal as a basic energy source. only give us more energy security, but it will also open
up fast opportunities for americans to live a better life and to have millions of new jobs associated with this new and very dynamic industry now in prospect because of the new energy policy that we've put into effect. mr. smith: would you repeat the question now for governor reagan? mr. ellis: governor reagan, americans, through conservation, are importing much less oil today than we were even a year ago. and yet, u.s. reliance on arab oil as a percentage of total imports is much higher today than it was during the 1973 arab oil embargo. and, the substantial loss of arab oil could plunge the united states into depression. the question is whether the development of alternative energy sources, in order to reduce this dependence, can be done without damaging the environment, and will it mean for american families steadily higher fuel bills? mr. reagan: i'm not so sure that it means steadily higher fuel costs, but i do believe that this nation has been portrayed
for too long a time to the people as being energy-poor when it is energy-rich. the coal that the president mentioned, yes, we have it and yet one-eighth of our total coal resources is not being utilized at all right now. the mines are closed down, there are 22,000 miners out of work. most of this is due to regulations which either interfere with the mining of it or prevent the burning of it:. with our modern technology, yes, we can burn our coal within the limits of the clean air act. i think, as technology improves, we'll be able to do even better with that. the other thing is that we have only leased out, begun to explore 2% of our outer continental shelf for oil, where it is believed, by everyone familiar with that fuel and that source of energy, that there are vast supplies yet to be found. our government has, in the last year or so, taken out of multiple use millions of acres
of public lands that once were, well, they were public lands subject to multiple use exploration for minerals and so forth. it is believed that probably 70% of the potential oil in the united states is probably hidden in those lands, and no one is allowed to even go and explore to find out if it is there. this is particularly true of the recent efforts to shut down part of alaska. nuclear power. there were 36 power plants planned in this country. and let me add the word safety; it must be done with the utmost of safety. but 32 of those have given up and canceled their plans to build, and again, because government regulations and permits, and so forth, take -- make it take more than twice as long to build a nuclear plant in the united states as it does to build one in japan or in western europe. we have the sources here. we are energy rich, and coal is one of the great potentials we
have. mr. smith: president carter, your comment? mr. carter: to repeat myself, we have this year the opportunity, which we'll realize, to produce 800 million tons of coal, an unequaled record in the history of our country. governor reagan says that this is not a good achievement, and he blames restraints on coal production on regulations, regulations that affect the life and the health and safety of miners, and also regulations that protect the purity of our air and the quality our water and our land. we cannot cast aside these regulations. we have a chance in the next 15 years, insisting upon the health and safety of workers in the mines, and also preserving the same high air and water pollution standards, to triple the amount of coal we produce. governor reagan's approach to our energy policy, which has
already proven its effectiveness, is to repeal, or to change substantially, the windfall profits tax -- profits tax to return a major , portion of $227 billion back to the oil companies, to do away with the department of energy, to short-circuit our synthetic fuels program, to put a minimal emphasis on solar power, to emphasize strongly nuclear power plants as a major source of energy in the future. he wants to put all our eggs in one basket and give that basket to the major oil companies. mr. smith: governor reagan. mr. reagan: that is a misstatement, of course, of my position. i just happen to believe that free enterprise can do a better job of producing the things that people need than government can. the department of energy has a multi-billion-dollar budget in excess of $10 billion. it hasn't produced a quart of oil or a lump of coal, or anything else in the line of energy. and, for mr. carter to suggest that i want to do away with the
safety laws and with the laws that pertain to clean water and clean air, and so forth, as governor of california, i took charge of passing the strictest air pollution laws in the united states, the strictest air quality law that has even been adopted in the united states. and we created an osha, an occupational safety and health agency, for the protection of employees before the federal government had one in place. and to this day, not one of its decisions or rulings has ever been challenged. so, i think some of those charges are missing the point. i am suggesting that there are literally thousands of unnecessary regulations that invade every facet of business, and indeed, very much of our personal lives, that are unnecessary, that government can do without, that have added $130 billion to the cost of production in this country, and that are contributing their part to inflation. and i would like to see us a
little more free, as we once were. mr. smith: president carter, another crack at that? mr. carter: sure. as a matter of fact, the air pollution standard laws that were passed in california were passed over the objections of governor reagan, and this is a very well-known fact. also, recently, when someone suggested that the occupational safety and health act should be abolished, governor reagan responded, amen. the offshore drilling rights is a question that governor reagan raises often. as a matter of fact, in the proposal for the alaska lands legislation, 100% of all the offshore lands would be open for exploration, and 95% of all the alaska lands, where it is suspected or believed that minerals might exist. we have, with our five-year plan for the leasing of offshore lands, proposed more land to be
drilled than has been opened up for drilling since this program first started in 1954. so we're not putting restraints on american exploration, we're encouraging it in every way we can. mr. smith: governor reagan, you have the last word on this question. mr. reagan: yes. if it is a well-known fact that i opposed air pollution laws in california, the only thing i can possibly think of is that the president must be suggesting the law that the federal government tried to impose on the state of california -- not a law, but regulations that would have made it impossible to drive an automobile within the city limits of any california city, or to have a place to put it if you did drive it against their regulations. it would have destroyed the economy of california and, i must say, we had the support of congress when we pointed out how ridiculous this attempt was by the environmental protection agency. we still have the strictest air control, or air pollution laws in the country. as for offshore oiling, only 2%
now is so leased and is producing oil. the rest, as to whether the lands are going to be opened in the next five years or so, we're already five years behind in what we should be doing. there is more oil now in the wells that have been drilled, than has been taken out in 121 years that they've been drilled. mr. smith: thank you, governor. thank you, mr. president. the next question goes to governor reagan from william hilliard. mr. hilliard: governor reagan, wage earners in this country, especially the young, are supporting a social security system that continues to affect their income drastically. the system is fostering a struggle between the young and the old, and is drifting the country toward a polarization of these two groups. how much longer can the young wage earner expect to bear the ever-increasing burden of the social security system? mr. reagan: the social security system was based on a false premise, with regard to how fast
the number of workers would increase and how fast the number of retirees would increase. it is actuarially out of balance, and this first became evident about 16 years ago, and some of us were voicing warnings then. now, it is trillions of dollars out of balance, and the only answer that has come so far is the biggest single tax increase in our nation's history, the payroll tax increase for social security which will only put a band-aid on this and postpone the day of reckoning by a few years at most. what is needed is a study that i have proposed by a task force of experts to look into this entire problem as to how it can be reformed and made actuarially sound, but with the premise that no one presently dependent on social security is going to have the rug pulled out from under them and not get their check. we cannot frighten, as we have with the threats and the campaign rhetoric that has gone on in this campaign, our senior
citizens, leave them thinking that in some way, they're endangered and they would have no place to turn. they must continue to get those checks, and i believe that the system can be put on a sound actuarial basis. but it's going to take some study and some work, and not just passing a tax increase to let the load or the roof fall in on the next administration. mr. smith: would you repeat that question for president carter? mr. hilliard: yes. president carter, wage earners in this country, especially the young, are supporting a social security system that continues to affect their income drastically. the system is fostering a struggle between young and old and is drifting the country toward a polarization of these two groups. how much longer can the young wage earner expect to bear the ever-increasing burden of the social security system? mr. carter: as long as there is a democratic president in the white house, we will have a strong and viable social security system, free of the threat of bankruptcy.
although governor reagan has changed his position lately, on four different occasions, he has advocated making social security a voluntary system, which would, in effect, very quickly bankrupt it. i noticed also in the "wall street journal" early this week, that a preliminary report of his task force advocates making social security more sound by reducing the adjustment in social security for the retired people to compensate for the impact of inflation. these kinds of approaches are very dangerous to the security, the well being and the peace of mind of the retired people of this country and those approaching retirement age. but, no matter what it takes in the future to keep social security sound, it must be kept that way. and, although there was a serious threat to the social security system and its integrity during the 1976 campaign and when i became president, the action of the democratic congress working with me has been to put social security back on a sound financial basis. that is the way it will stay.
mr. smith: governor reagan? mr. reagan: well, that just isn't true. it has, as i said, delayed the actuarial imbalance falling on us for just a few years with that increase in taxes, and i don't believe we can go on increasing the tax, because the problem for the young people today is that they are paying in far more than they can ever expect to get out. now, again this statement that somehow, i wanted to destroy it and i just changed my tune, that i am for voluntary social security, which would mean the ruin of it. mr. president, the voluntary thing that i suggested many years ago was that a young man, orphaned and raised by an aunt who died, his aunt was ineligible for social security insurance because she was not his mother. and i suggested that if this is an insurance program, certainly the person who is paying in should be able to name his own
beneficiary. that is the closest i have ever come to anything voluntary with social security. i, too, am pledged to a social security program that will reassure these senior citizens of ours that they are going to continue to get their money. there are some changes that i would like to make. i would like to make a change in the regulation that discriminates against a wife who works and finds that she then is faced with a choice between her father's or her husband's benefits, if he dies first, or what she has paid in, but it does not recognize that she has also been paying in herself, and she is entitled to more than she presently can get. i'd like to change that. mr. smith: president carter's rebuttal now. mr. carter: these constant suggestions that the basic social security system should be changed does cause concern and consternation among the aged of our country.
it is obvious that we should have a commitment to them, that social security benefits should not be taxed and that there would be no peremptory change in the standards by which social security payments are made to retired people. we also need to continue to index social security payments, so that if inflation rises, the social security payments would rise a commensurate degree to let the buying power of a social security check continue intact. in the past, the relationship between social security and medicare has been very important to providing some modicum of aid for senior citizens in the retention of health benefits. governor reagan, as a matter of fact, began his political career campaigning around this nation against medicare. now, we have an opportunity to move toward national health insurance, with an emphasis on the prevention of disease, an emphasis on out-patient care, not in-patient care, an emphasis on hospital cost containment to
hold down the cost of hospital care far those who are ill, an emphasis on catastrophic health insurance, so that if a family is threatened with being wiped out economically because of a very high medical bill, then the insurance would help pay for it. these are the kinds of elements of a national health insurance, important to the american people. governor reagan, again, typically, is against such a proposal. mr. smith: governor? mr. reagan: when i opposed medicare, there was another piece of legislation meeting the same problem before the congress. i happened to favor the other piece of legislation and thought that it would be better for the senior citizens and provide better care than the one that was finally passed. i was not opposing the principle of providing care for them. i was opposing one piece of legislation versus another. there is something else about social security. of course, it doesn't come out of the payroll tax. it comes out of a general fund,
but something should be done about it. i think it is disgraceful that the disability insurance fund in social security finds checks going every month to tens of thousands of people who are locked up in our institutions for crime or for mental illness, and they are receiving disability checks from social security every month while a state institution provides for all of their needs and their care. mr. smith: president carter, you have the last word on this question. mr. carter: i think this debate on social security, medicare, national health insurance typifies, as vividly any other subject tonight, the basic historical differences between the democratic party and the republican party. the allusions to basic changes in the minimum wage is another, and the deleterious comments that governor reagan has made about unemployment compensation. these commitments that the democratic party has historically made to the working families of this nation have
been extremely important to the growth in their stature and in a better quality of life for them. i noticed recently that governor reagan frequently quotes democratic presidents in his acceptance address. i have never heard a candidate for president, who is a republican, quote a republican president, but when they get in office, they try to govern like republicans. so, it is good fo the american people to remember that there is a sharp basic historical difference between governor reagan and me on these crucial issues also, between the two , parties that we represent. mr. smith: thank you mr. president. governor reagan we now go to , another question a question to president carter by barbara waiters. ms. walters: thank you. you have addressed some of the major issues tonight, but the biggest issue in the mind of american voters is yourselves your ability to lead this country.
when many voters go into that booth just a week from today, they will be voting their gut instinct about you men. you have already given us your reasons why people should vote for you, now would you please tell us for this your final question, why they should not vote for your opponent, why his presidency could be harmful to the nation and, having examined both your opponent's record and the man himself, tell us his greatest weakness. mr. carter: barbara, reluctant as i am to say anything critical about governor reagan, i will try to answer your question. [laughter] mr. carter: first of all, there is the historical perspective that i just described. this is a contest between a democrat in the mainstream of my party, as exemplified by the actions that i have taken in the oval office the last four years, as contrasted with governor reagan, who in most cases does typify his party, but in some cases, there is a radical departure by him from the heritage of eisenhower and others.
the most important crucial difference in this election campaign, in my judgment, is the approach to the control of nuclear weaponry and the inclination to control or not to control the spread of atomic weapons to other nations who don't presently have it, particularly terrorist nations. the inclination that governor reagan has exemplified in many troubled times since he has been in many troubled times since he has been running for president, inject american military forces in places like north korea or to put a blockade around north korea or two projects american forces into a fishing dispute against the small nation of ecuador on the west coast of south america, this is typical of his on theanding inclination , not tomerican power
resolve disputes diplomatically and peacefully, but to show an exercise of military power is best proven by the actual use of it. obviously, no president wants war. and i certainly do not believe that governor reagan wants war. but the president in the oval office has to make a judgment on a daily basis about how to exercise enormous power. diplomacy and peace or in a careless way, a belligerent attitude which has exemplified his attitudes in the past. would you repeat the question for governor reagan? yes, mask why people should not vote for your opponent? be his presidency could harmful to the nation and, having examined your opponents
record, could you tell me his greatest weakness? >> i believe there is a fundamental difference and i believe it is in most of the answers that he has given tonight. i happen to believe that the has authorityment that belongs back at the state and local level and it has imposed on the individual freedoms of people. more things that could be solved by people themselves if they were given a chance. as to why i should be and he shouldn't be, when he was a candidate in 1976, president carted invented the misery index. rate of inflation. and it came to 12.5. andy said that no man with that a right to index had
seek reelection to the presidency. decision, theown misery index is in axis of 20%. and i think this must suggest something. have quoted a democratic president, i was a democrat. the president i quoted had made a democrat promise. and i quoted him because it was never kept. you would find that the promise is at the heart of what republicanism represents in this country today. that is why believe there will be millions of democrats that will vote with us this time around because they want this promise kept. lesss a promise for governance and less taxes. president carter.
i mention the radical the ownner of reagan from his party and i don't think this can be better illustrated than in the case where we guarantee equal rights of women under the constitution. for 40 years, the republican party platforms called for tarantino women equal rights with because additional amendment. sayers of mine called for a guaranty of women's rights. governor reagan and the new republican party has departed from this commitment, a severe blow for the opportunity of women to correct the discrimination they have suffered. when a man and women do the same amount of work, a man get paid one dollar and the woman gets $.59. and because fusion says that
equality of rights for women should not be abridged. that is all it says. a simple guaranty of equality and opportunity. which typifies an important commitment of mine. as contracted with governor reagan supporter. mr. president, once again, i happen to be against the amendment. because i think this amendment will take the problem out of the -- well you have been in office for four years and not added toe state has the ratification or voted to ratify the equal rights amendment, while i was governor more than eight years ago, i found 14 separate instances where women were segregated
against a california law and i passed 14 statutes that eliminated those discriminations, including the economic ones you just mentioned. i believe that in if all these years that we spend trying to get the amendment, if we spend as much time correcting these california, ifin i were president, i would also hundreds ofat the federal regulations which discriminate against women and which go right on while everyone looks for an amendment. someone started eliminating those discriminations in the federal government against women. carter: i am a seven or. and i share the basic beliefs of my reason about intrusion into the private affairs of of american citizens and also into
the private affairs of the free enterprise system. one of the commitments that i made was to deregulate the major industries of this country. we've been remarkably successful, with the help of a democratic congress. we have deregulated the air industry, the rail industry, the trucking industry, financial institutions. we're now working on the communications industry. in addition to that, i believe that this element of discrimination is something that the south has seen so vividly as a blight on our region of the country which has now been corrected. not only racial discrimination but discrimination against people that have to work for a living, because we have been trying to pick ourselves up by our bootstraps, since the long depression years, and lead a full and useful life in the affairs of this country. we have made remarkable success. it is part of my consciousness and of my commitment to continue this progress. so, my heritage as a southerner, my experience in the oval office, convinces me that what i have just described is a proper course for the future. mr. smith: governor reagan, yours is the last word. mr. reagan: well, my last word is again to say that, we were talking about this very simple amendment and women's rights. and i make it plain again, i am for women's rights.
but i would like to call the attention of the people to the fact that that so-called simple amendment could be used by mischievous men to destroy discriminations that properly belong, by law, to women, respecting the physical differences between the two sexes, labor laws that protect them against doing things that would be physically harmful to them. those would all, could all be challenged by men. and the same would be true with regard to combat service in the military and so forth. i thought that was the subject we were supposed to be on. but, if we're talking about how much we think about the working people and so forth, i'm the only fellow who ever ran for this job who was six times president of his own union and still has a lifetime membership in that union. mr. smith: gentlemen, each of you now has three minutes for a closing statement. president carter, you're first. mr. carter: first of all, i'd like to thank the league of women voters for making this
debate possible. i think it's been a very constructive debate and i hope it's helped to acquaint the american people with the sharp differences between myself and governor reagan. also, i want to thank the people of cleveland and ohio for being such hospitable hosts during these last few hours in my life. i've been president now for almost four years. i've had to make thousands of decisions, and each one of those decisions has been a learning process. i've seen the strength of my nation, and i've seen the crises that it approached in a tentative way. and i've had to deal with those crises as best i could. as i've studied the record between myself and governor reagan, i've been impressed with the stark differences that exist between us. i think the result of this debate indicates that that fact is true. i consider myself in the mainstream of my party. i consider myself in the mainstream even of the
bipartisan list of presidents who served before me. the united states must be a nation strong. the united states must be a nation secure. we must have a society that's just and fair. and we must extend the benefits of our own commitment to peace, to create a peaceful world. i believe that, since i've been in office, there have been six or eight areas of combat evolved in other parts of the world. in each case, i alone have had to determine the interests of my country and the degree of involvement of my country. i've done that with moderation, with care, with thoughtfulness, sometimes consulting experts. but, i've learned in this last three and a half years that when an issue is extremely difficult, when the call is very close, the chances are the experts will be divided almost 50-50.
and the final judgment about the future of the nation -- war, peace, involvement, reticence, thoughtfulness, care, consideration, concern -- has to be made by the man in the oval office. it's a lonely job, but with the involvement of the american people in the process, with an open government, the job is a very gratifying one. the american people now are facing, next tuesday, a lonely decision. those listening to my voice will have to make a judgment about the future of this country. and i think they ought to remember that one vote can make a lot of difference. if one vote per precinct had changed in 1960, john kennedy would never have been president of this nation. and if a few more people had gone to the polls and voted in 1968, hubert humphrey would have been president, richard nixon would not. there is a partnership involved. our nation, to stay strong, to stay at peace, to raise high the banner of human rights, to set an example for the rest of the world, to let our deep beliefs
and commitments be felt by others in other nations, is my plan for the future. i ask the american people to join me in this partnership. mr. smith: governor reagan? mr. reagan: yes, i would like to add my words of thanks, too, to the ladies of the league of women voters for making these debates possible. i'm sorry that we couldn't persuade the bringing in of the third candidate, so that he could have been seen also in these debates. but still, it's good that at least once, all three of us were heard by the people of this country. next tuesday is election day. next tuesday, all of you will go to the polls, will stand there in the polling place and make a decision. i think when you make that decision, it might be well if you would ask yourself, are you better off than you were four years ago? is it easier for you to go and buy things in the stores than it was four years ago? is there more or less unemployment in the country than
there was four years ago? is america as respected throughout the world as it was? do you feel that our security is as safe, that we're as strong as we were four years ago? and if you answer all of those questions yes, why then, i think your choice is very obvious as to whom you will vote for. if you don't agree, if you don't think that this course that we've been on for the last four years is what you would like to see us follow for the next four, then i could suggest another choice that you have. this country doesn't have to be in the shape that it is in. we do not have to go on sharing in scarcity with the country getting worse off, with unemployment growing. we talk about the unemployment lines. if all of the unemployed today were in a single line allowing
two feet for each of them, that line would reach from new york city to los angeles, california. all of this can be cured and all of it can be solved. i have not had the experience the president has had in holding that office, but i think in being governor of california, the most populous state in the union, if it were a nation, it would be the seventh-ranking economic power in the world, i, too, had some lonely moments and decisions to make. i know that the economic program that i have proposed for this nation in the next few years can resolve many of the problems that trouble us today. i know because we did it there. we cut the cost, the increased cost of government, in half over the eight years. we returned $5.7 billion in tax rebates, credits, and cuts to our people. we, as i have said earlier, fell below the national average in inflation when we did that.
and i know that we did give back authority and autonomy to the people. i would like to have a crusade today, and i would like to lead that crusade with your help. and it would be one to take government off the backs of the great people of this country, and turn you loose again to do those things that i know you can do so well, because you did them and made this country great. thank you. >> ladies and gentlemen, for 60 years, the league of women voters has been committed to citizen participation of americans in political and governmental affairs. the most critical element of all in that process is an informed citizen. on behalf of the league of women voters, i would like to thank president carter and governor reagan for being with us in cleveland tonight. thank you and good night. [applause]
evening for the presidential debates on your desktop or tablet. watch live streams of the debate and video-on-demand of every question to the candidates and their answers. use our video clipping tool to share on social media. listen to the debate live on the c-span radio mobile app, free from the app store or google play. live coverage of the presidential debates monday evening. our c-span campaign 2016 bus is in ohio this week, asking students and voters what question they would ask the candidates at the debate. in dayton, ohio, to me, the
most important issue in the election are all of the higher education and issues that affect millennials. as the youngest state official in ohio, i think our federal officials need to make sure we educationng higher that is affordable to students. my also that we don't leave generation with $17 trillion in debt and a social security and medicare system that won't be there for us when we need it. hot upon sophomore at university and my important issue is education for the k-12 level and the university level. i believe it needs to be more equitable and it needs to benefit all students and i think we need to find a way to make college more affordable. a medical laboratory science major. i believe in this election the medicalortant issue is
health care and where the direction will be changed. >> i think one of the most important issues in this year's impact ofis the education. i think fostering it from a important.s and there are discrepancies between the two candidates. >> voices on the road, on c-span. c-span's washington journal live every day with news and policy issues that impact you. morning, a board member on the issue of presidential debate talks about the 2016 presidential campaign, the federal budget and the upcoming presidential debate. of a book onhor recent police shootings. the opening of the african american museum of history and culture and the issue of race in this election cycle.
and the editor-in-chief of "the onion" talk about the website and the use of political satire in their coverage of the political campaign. " this"washington journal morning and joined the discussion. >> in 2000, residential candidates work al gore and george w. bush. their first presidential debate was held in boston at the university of massachusetts. this is just over 90 minutes.