Number two, we take some programs that we are doing to keep, like Medicaid, which is a program for the poor; we'll take that healthcare program for the poor and we give it to the states to run because states run these programs more efficiently.
As a governor, I thought please, give me this program. I can run this more efficiently than the federal government and states, by the way, are proving it. States like Arizona, Rhode Island have taken these — these Medicaid dollars; have shown they can run these programs more cost-effectively. I want to do those two things and get this — get this to a balanced budget with eight — eight to 10 years.
But the military — let's get back to the military, though.
(CROSSTALK) SCHIEFFER: That's what I'm trying...
OBAMA: He should have answered the first question.
OBAMA: Look, Governor Romney's called for $5 trillion of tax cuts that he says he's going to pay for by closing deductions. Now, the math doesn't work, but he continues to claim that he's going to do it. He then wants to spend another $2 trillion on military spending that our military is not asking for.
Now, keep in mind that our military spending has gone up every single year that I've been in office. We spend more on our military than the next 10 countries combined; China, Russia, France, the United Kingdom, you name it. The next 10. And what I did was work with our joint chiefs of staff to think about, what are we going to need in the future to make sure that we are safe?
And that's the budget that we've put forward. But, what you can't do is spend $2 trillion in additional military spending that the military is not asking for, $5 trillion on tax cuts. You say that you're going to pay for it by closing loopholes and deductions, without naming what those loopholes and deductions are. And then somehow you're also going to deal with the deficit that we've already got. The math simply doesn't work. But when it comes to our military, what we have to think about is not, you know just budgets, we've got to think about capabilities.
We need to be thinking about cyber security. We need to be talking about space. That's exactly what our budget does, but it's driven by strategy. It's not driven by politics. It's not driven by members of Congress, and what they would like to see. It's driven by, what are we going to need to keep the American people safe? That's exactly what our budget does, and it also then allows us to reduce our deficit, which is a significant national security concern. Because we've got to make sure that our economy is strong at home so that we can project military power overseas.
ROMNEY: I'm pleased that I've balanced budgets. I was on the world of business for 25 years. If you didn't balance your budget, you went out of business. I went into the Olympics that was out of balance, and we got it on balance, and made a success there.
I had the chance to be governor of a state. Four years in a row, Democrats and Republicans came together to balance the budget. We cut taxes 19 times and balanced our budget. The president hasn't balanced a budget yet. I expect to have the opportunity to do so myself.
SCHIEFFER: All right.
ROMNEY: I'm going to be able to balance the budget.
Let's talk about military spending, and that's this.
SCHIEFFER: Thirty seconds.
ROMNEY: Our Navy is old — excuse me, our Navy is smaller now than at any time since 1917. The Navy said they needed 313 ships to carry out their mission. We're now at under 285. We're headed down to the low 200s if we go through a sequestration. That's unacceptable to me.
I want to make sure that we have the ships that are required by our Navy. Our Air Force is older and smaller than at any time since it was founded in 1947.
We've changed for the first time since FDR — since FDR we had the — we've always had the strategy of saying we could fight in two conflicts at once. Now we're changing to one conflict. Look, this, in my view, is the highest responsibility of the President of the United States, which is to maintain the safety of the American people.
And I will not cut our military budget by a trillion dollars, which is a combination of the budget cuts the president has, as well as the sequestration cuts. That, in my view, is making — is making our future less certain and less secure.
OBAMA: Bob, I just need to comment on this.
First of all, the sequester is not something that I've proposed. It is something that Congress has proposed. It will not happen.
The budget that we are talking about is not reducing our military spending. It is maintaining it.
But I think Governor Romney maybe hasn't spent enough time looking at how our military works.
You mentioned the Navy, for example, and that we have fewer ships than we did in 1916. Well, Governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets, because the nature of our military's changed. We have these things called aircraft carriers, where planes land on them. We have these ships that go underwater, nuclear submarines.
OBAMA: And so the question is not a game of Battleship, where we're counting slips. It's what are our capabilities. And so when I sit down with the Secretary of the Navy and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, we determine how are we going to be best able to meet all of our defense needs in a way that also keeps faith with our troops, that also makes sure that our veterans have the kind of support that they need when they come home.
OBAMA: And that is not reflected in the kind of budget that you're putting forward because it just doesn't work.
SCHIEFFER: All right.
OBAMA: And, you know, we visited the website quite a bit and it still doesn't work.
SCHIEFFER: A lot to cover. I'd like — I'd like to move to the next segment: red lines, Israel and Iran.
Would either of you — and you'll have two minutes — and, President Obama, you have the first go at this one — would either of you be willing to declare that an attack on Israel is an attack on the United States, which, of course, is the same promise that we give to our close allies like Japan.
And if you made such a declaration, would not that deter Iran? It's certainly deterred the Soviet Union for a long, long time when we made that — we made — we made that promise to our allies.
OBAMA: First of all, Israel is a true friend. It is our greatest ally in the region. And if Israel is attacked, America will stand with Israel. I've made that clear throughout my presidency. And...
SCHIEFFER: So you're — you're saying we've already made that declaration.
OBAMA: I will stand with Israel if they are attacked. And this is the reason why, working with Israel, we have created the strongest military and intelligence cooperation between our two countries in history.
In fact, this week we'll be carrying out the largest military exercise with Israel in history, this very week. But to the issue of Iran, as long as I'm president of the United States Iran will not get a nuclear weapon. I made that clear when I came into office.
OBAMA: We then organized the strongest coalition and the strongest sanctions against Iran in history, and it is crippling their economy. Their currency has dropped 80 percent. Their oil production has plunged to the lowest level since they were fighting a war with Iraq 20 years ago. So their economy is in a shambles.
And the reason we did this is because a nuclear Iran is a threat to our national security, and it is a threat to Israel's national security. We cannot afford to have a nuclear arms race in the most volatile region of the world.
Iran is a state sponsor of terrorism. And for them to be able to provide nuclear technology to non-state actors, that's unacceptable. And they have said that they want to see Israel wiped off the map.
So the work that we've done with respect to sanctions now offers Iran a choice. They can take the diplomatic route and end their nuclear program or they will have to face a united world and a United States president, me, who said we're not going to take any options off the table.
The disagreement I have with Governor Romney is that, during the course of this campaign, he's often talked as if we should take premature military action. I think that would be a mistake, because when I've sent young men and women into harm's way, I always understand that that is the last resort, not the first resort.
SCHIEFFER: Two minutes.