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Flashback: Reagan Emphasized Peace, Restraint on Hostages in 1980 Debate

BEGIN TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: Now let's go to back to 1980, October 28th, Cleveland, Ohio.  The only debate between Ronaldus Magnus and Jimmy Carter, and the subject here was foreign policy.  It may be useful to hear this.  Some might say -- I wouldn't say it 'cause I don't want to destroy friendships here -- but some might say that Romney might have been following a Reagan blueprint.  We have two sound bites here.  US News & World Report press panelist Marvin Stone:  "Governor Reagan, you've been criticized for being all-too-quick to advocate the use of lots of muscle, military action, to deal with foreign crises.  Specifically, what are the differences between the two of you on the uses of American military power?"

REAGAN:  I believe with all my heart that our first priority must be world peace and that use of force is always and only a last resort when everything else has failed, and then only with regard to our national security.  We cannot shirk our responsibility as the leader of the free world because we're the only one that can do it, and therefore the burden of maintaining the peace falls on us.  And to maintain that peace requires strength.  I have seen four wars in my lifetime.  I'm a father of sons.  I have a grandson.  I don't ever want to see another generation of young Americans bleed their lives into sandy beachheads in the Pacific or rice paddies and jungles in Asia or the muddy battlefields of Europe.

RUSH:  Wow.  Pretty bland.  He didn't call the Soviets the evil empire in that sound bite.  He didn't say, "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down that wall."  This all came later.  During the debate in 1980, in this segment, Reagan was pretty generic, talking about peace.  Barbara Walters was also a debate moderator.  Well, she was a panelist.  And she said, "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.  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?"

REAGAN:  I would be fearful that I might say something that was presently underway 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 is a chance of their coming home soon, or that might cause them harm.

RUSH:  Took a pass.  He basically let Carter's failure speak for itself.  I don't know if you want to draw an analogy to that clip to Romney not talking about Benghazi?  I mean, the hostages were in the news. Everybody knew what had happened. Everybody knew Jimmy Carter's failed attempt to rescue 'em. Everybody knew Jimmy Carter was an absolute buffoon when it came to foreign policy. Everybody knew Jimmy Carter was a buffoon in the economy. 

Here's Reagan, he's got a chance to go in there and hammer Carter, just lower the boom on the hostages.  I don't want to say anything.  There might be something going on I might not know about that could upset delicate negotiations or whatever.  He won in a landslide and then after sounding pretty bland here, we all know who Ronald Reagan was, and we knew before this debate and before these two sound bites who Ronald Reagan was.  There was no mystery about who Reagan was.  There was no mystery about his anti-communism, his devotion to low taxes, restoring the military.  Everybody knew it.  They also knew that Carter was a buffoon, just as today people know that Obama is a disaster.  New Republic, in fact, today, headline:  "Romney Plays Reagan and Does it Well Enough."  New Republic, left-wing journal of opinion, "Romney Plays Reagan and Does it Well Enough."

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