Iowa Public Television

 

Mitt Romney

posted on October 26, 2007

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Borg: IN IOWA, THE PRECAUCUS CAMPAIGN, MITT ROMNEY IS RIDING HIGH THESE DAYS IN POLLS AND AT THE BANK. WE DISCUSS THE CAMPAIGN OF 2008 WITH FORMER MASSACHUSETTS GOVERNOR MITT ROMNEY ON THIS EDITION OF "IOWA PRESS."

FUNDING FOR "IOWA PRESS" WAS PROVIDED BY "FRIENDS," THE IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION FOUNDATION; THE ASSOCIATION OF AMERICAN RAILROADS, DEDICATED TO A CLEAN ENVIRONMENT BY SHIPPING EACH TON OF FREIGHT OVER 400 MILES ON ONE GALLON OF FUEL. AMERICA'S FREIGHT RAILROADS, ON THE WEB AT FREIGHTRAILWORKS.ORG; THE IOWA BANKERS ASSOCIATION... FOR PERSONAL, BUSINESS AND COMMERCIAL NEEDS, IOWA BANKS HELP IOWANS REACH THEIR FINANCIAL GOALS. ON STATEWIDE IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION, THIS IS "IOWA PRESS." HERE IS DEAN BORG.

Borg: TWO IMPORTANT POLLS IN THE PAST THREE WEEKS COME AS GOOD NEWS, IN FACT, GREAT NEWS FOR THE SUPPORTERS OF REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE MITT ROMNEY. BOTH THE MOST RECENT IOWA POLL IN EARLY OCTOBER AND THE FIRST OF THE RASMUSSEN REPORT POLLS OF LAST WEEK SHOW ROMNEY TOPPING THE CANDIDATE PREFERENCE SLIDER IN IOWA. AND THE MOST RECENT FUND-RAISING REPORT SHOWED THE FORMER MASSACHUSETTS GOVERNOR NUMBER ONE IN IOWA REPUBLICAN FUND-RAISING. OTHER REPUBLICAN CONTENDERS FOR THE NOMINATION ARE REMINDING THE PARTY FAITHFUL, THOUGH, THAT THE IOWA GOP CAUCUS OF JANUARY 3 IS STILL MORE THAN TWO MONTHS AWAY AND THE GENERAL ELECTION OF NOVEMBER 2008 MORE THAN A YEAR DOWN THE POLITICAL CALENDAR. STILL ROMNEY SUPPORTERS ARE ENERGIZED HEADING FOR THE ANNUAL RONALD REAGAN FALL DINNER THIS WEEKEND. GOVERNOR ROMNEY, WELCOME BACK TO "IOWA PRESS."

Romney: THANKS, DEAN. GOOD TO BE WITH YOU.

Borg: AND YOU KNOW THE TWO GENTLEMEN ACROSS THE TABLE HERE: "DES MOINES REGISTER" POLITICAL COLUMNIST DAVID YEPSEN AND "ASSOCIATED PRESS" SENIOR POLITICAL WRITER MIKE GLOVER.

Glover: GOVERNOR, YOU HAVE BEEN IN IOWA AS HEAVY AS ANYONE. YOU HAVE LED IN THE POLLS SINCE LAST SPRING. YOU SPENT AS MUCH HERE AS ANYBODY. DO YOU HAVE TO WIN IOWA?

Romney: WELL, I'D SURE LIKE TO WIN IOWA. I NEED TO BE IN THE TOP THREE. I THINK THAT'S THE RULE OF THUMB THAT YOU HAVE TO HAVE, AND I'D LIKE TO DO WELL. I RECOGNIZE IT'S GOING TO TIGHTEN UP. I'VE HAD TO SPEND A LOT OF TIME AND A LOT OF MONEY HERE, OF COURSE, BECAUSE PEOPLE DIDN'T KNOW ME. HOUSEHOLD NAMES LIKE RUDY GIULIANI AND JOHN MCCAIN HAVE THAT ALREADY GOING FOR THEM. I HAD TO GET OUT AND GET INTRODUCED TO FOLKS. AND I'VE PROBABLY SPENT MORE TIME HERE THAN ANYBODY. I'VE BEEN IN 57 COUNTIES. MY SON HAS BEEN IN 99 COUNTIES, AND SO I WANT TO DO WELL IN IOWA. I'D LOVE TO WIN BUT I THINK IN ORDER TO HAVE THE KIND OF PROSPECTS I NEED TO GET THE ENTIRE NOMINATION, I NEED TO FINISH IN THE TOP THREE, AND I'LL WORK HARD TO SEE IF I CAN'T DO THAT OR BETTER.

Glover: WELL, HAS YOUR PRESENCE HERE, YOUR SPENDING HERE CREATED AN EXPECTATION PROBLEM FOR YOU? IN OTHER WORDS, IF YOU WIN, WILL PEOPLE SAY, WELL, HE WON BECAUSE HE SPENT MORE MONEY THERE, HE SPENT MORE TIME THERE, OF COURSE HE WON?

Romney: WELL, I DON'T THINK ANYONE ANTICIPATES THAT A PERSON WHO WAS NOT WELL KNOWN WHO HAD, I DON'T KNOW, SINGLE-DIGIT SUPPORT WHEN I GOT INTO THIS IN FEBRUARY, THAT I WOULD WIN IOWA. IF I'M ABLE TO, THAT WILL BE SOMETHING WHICH I THINK IS VERY UNEXPECTED FOR A LOT OF FOLKS LOOKING BACK FROM THE FIRST OF THE YEAR. IT WILL BE A WONDERFUL SURPRISE FOR ME AS WELL. I THINK YOU'RE GOING TO SEE THIS TIGHTEN UP. I THINK YOU'RE GOING TO SEE OTHER CANDIDATES COME ON WITH THEIR SPENDING AND THEIR ADS AND THEIR TIME AND TRY AND CATCH UP. I THINK IT'S HARD TO CATCH UP WITH THE NUMBER OF PERSONAL MEETINGS I'VE HAD. I'VE MET A LOT OF PEOPLE FACE TO FACE, AND ONE THING ABOUT THE PROCESS THAT EXISTS IN IOWA IS THERE'S NO SUBSTITUTE FOR A FACE-TO-FACE MEETING AND FOR A TOWN MEETING KIND OF DISCUSSION. AND I THINK THAT'S GOING TO GIVE ME THE ONGOING SUPPORT I NEED TO STAY AT LEAST IN THE TOP THREE AND HOPEFULLY TO BE THE WINNER.

Yepsen: GOVERNOR, HAVE YOU FLATLINED IN IOWA? I MEAN DEAN MENTIONS THAT YOU'RE AHEAD IN THE POLLS, AND THAT'S CORRECT. BUT IT'S ABOUT 30 PERCENT. YOU'VE BEEN IN THAT POSITION SINCE MAY. HAVE YOU FLATLINED? HAVE YOU PEAKED?

Romney: WELL, IF I COULD PEAK AT 30 PERCENT, I'D BE DELIGHTED. WE HAD A ANOTHER ENTRANT, A FAMOUS ACTOR CAME IN, AND ROCKETED I THINK WITH A NUMBER TWO POSITION WHEN HE CAME IN. AND INTERESTINGLY, DESPITE HIM COMING IN, I WASN'T THE ONE THAT TOOK THE BIG DROP. HIS RISE CAME AT THE EXPENSE OF OTHERS. SO HOLDING ONTO THE STRENGTH THAT FOLKS HAVE PROVIDED IN ME IS GOOD NEWS FOR ME. I DON'T EXPECT TO ALWAYS STAY AT 30 PERCENT. I THINK IT WILL GO UP AND DOWN. I'LL HAVE GOOD TIMES AND BAD. BUT OVERALL, I BELIEVE THAT MY MESSAGE, WHICH IS, ONE, A MESSAGE OF STRENGTH IN OUR ECONOMY AND OUR MILITARY AND OUR HOMES, PLUS MY EFFORT TO GET PEOPLE HEALTH INSURANCE AND GET OUR SCHOOLS IMPROVED AND TO GET US ENERGY INDEPENDENT, THIS MESSAGE IS CONNECTING WITH VOTERS IN IOWA AND I THINK WILL CONTINUE TO GIVE ME THE STRENGTH I NEED.

Glover: LET'S TAKE A LOOK AT THAT NEW ENTRANT IN THE RACE. YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT FRED THOMPSON, OF COURSE, THE LATEST ENTRANT IN THE REPUBLICAN PRIMARY SEASON. IT WAS EXPECTED WHEN HE GOT IN, HE WOULD SHAKE UP THE REPUBLICAN RACE, HE WOULD BE THE GENUINE CONSERVATIVE, HE WOULD SORT OF CHANGE THINGS AROUND. THAT DOESN'T SEEM TO HAVE HAPPENED? WHAT'S GOING ON HERE?

Romney: WELL, I THINK IN IOWA PEOPLE HAVE COME TO KNOW THE OTHER CANDIDATES. THEY HAVE SEEN US PERSON TO PERSON. IF IOWA WERE LIKE, LET'S SAY, A CALIFORNIA, WHERE MOST OF THE POLITICKING HAS TO BE DONE ON TV, JUST GIVEN THE SCALE OF THE STATE, THEN HIM COMING IN MIGHT HAVE CHANGED EVERYTHING. BUT IN IOWA PEOPLE GET TO KNOW YOU. THEY SEE YOU IN THEIR LIVING ROOMS. THEY SEE YOU AT THE STORE. THEY SEE YOU AT A TOWN MEETING PERHAPS IN A SCHOOL. AND SO ACTUALLY CHANGING THE NEEDLE HERE REQUIRES NOT JUST AN AD AND NOT JUST A WELL-KNOWN NAME, IT REQUIRES TIME. AND THAT'S SOMETHING WHICH IS NOT GOING TO BE OVERCOME IN A COUPLE OF WEEKS.

Yepsen: GOVERNOR, WHAT DO YOU MAKE OF RUDY GIULIANI'S CANDIDACY? SOME PEOPLE THOUGHT HE WOULD JUST START TO COLLAPSE AS PEOPLE -- AS RANK AND FILE REPUBLICANS LEARNED HIS VIEWS ON SOCIAL ISSUES. OTHERS ARE SAYING, WELL, HE'S GOT SOME DURABILITY HERE BECAUSE OF HIS PORTFOLIO ON NATIONAL SECURITY QUESTIONS, HIS ACTIONS -- THE WAY HE HANDLED 9/11. WHAT'S YOUR TAKE ON GIULIANI'S CANDIDACY?

Romney: WELL, YOU KNOW, I THINK THE MAYOR IS A TERRIFIC GUY AND HAS A STRONG PLATFORM. YOU KNOW, I THINK HIS POSITIONS ARE NOT ENTIRELY ALIGNED WITH THE MAINSTREAM REPUBLICAN VOTER. THOSE OF US WHO ARE MORE FOCUSED ON, IF YOU WILL, THE COALITION THAT RONALD REAGAN PUT TOGETHER OF SOCIAL CONSERVATIVES, ECONOMIC CONSERVATIVES, AND FOREIGN POLICY CONSERVATIVES, THERE ARE A LOT OF US FIGHTING ON THAT SIDE, IF YOU WILL. THERE ARE SIX, SEVEN, EIGHT FOLKS ALL GOING AFTER THAT AUDIENCE, AND MAYOR GIULIANI IS PRETTY MUCH ALONE ON THE OTHER SIDE SO IT'S NOT A BIG SURPRISE THAT HE CONTINUES TO HOLD THAT PORTION OF THE PARTY.

Yepsen: ARE YOU WORRIED, THOUGH, THAT THE MORE CONSERVATIVE REPUBLICANS IN THIS RACE, THAT YOU'LL CARVE UP -- DICE UP THIS PIE HERE IN IOWA AND ENABLE GIULIANI TO EITHER GET A PLURALITY OR DO WELL JUST BECAUSE YOU DIVIDED THE CONSERVATIVE VOTES? THAT HAPPENED IN THIS STATE IN 1980 --

Romney: AND I THINK THE REASON THAT I SAID THAT IN ORDER TO GO ON FROM IOWA I THINK YOU NEED TO FINISH IN THE TOP THREE IS BECAUSE THAT'S A POSSIBILITY. BUT WE'LL NARROW DOWN, WE'LL CONSOLIDATE THE VOICE AROUND ONE OR TWO PEOPLE THAT WOULD GO ON TO NEW HAMPSHIRE AND THEN GO ON TO MICHIGAN AND SOUTH CAROLINA. AND ULTIMATELY THOSE OF US WHO REPRESENT THIS COALITION, IF YOU WILL, THE HOUSE THAT RONALD REAGAN BUILT, THOSE OF US WHO REPRESENT THAT BASE WILL FIND THAT WE GET THE SUPPORT TO GO ON AND ULTIMATELY FACE UP, I THINK ONE ON ONE -- OR ONE TO ONE, RELATIVE TO MAYOR GIULIANI, AND I THINK AT THAT POINT HE'LL HAVE A MORE CHALLENGING TIME BECAUSE I DO BELIEVE THE REPUBLICAN PARTY -- I'VE SAID THIS BEFORE -- IS NOT GOING TO KEEP HILLARY OUT OF THE WHITE HOUSE BY ACTING LIKE HILLARY CLINTON. WE HAVE TO BE DISTINCT. WE HAVE TO ACT LIKE REPUBLICANS.

Borg: AS FAR AS YOU YOURSELF IN THE IOWA CAUCUSES, POLLS SHOW THAT YOU'RE LEADING RIGHT NOW. AND GIVEN THE FACT THAT IS A SNAPSHOT, YOU SAID YOU EXPECT THE RACE TO TIGHTEN UP AS TIME GOES ALONG HERE. BUT TIME IS GETTING SHORTER BECAUSE THE CAUCUS DATE IS BEING MOVED UP. DO YOU BENEFIT FROM THAT?

Romney: WELL, IF WE COULD HAVE THE ELECTION TOMORROW, I'D BE REALLY PLEASED.

Borg: THAT'S WHAT I THOUGHT.

Romney: AND I -- YOU KNOW, I DON'T KNOW WHAT'S GOING TO HAPPEN WITH THE CALENDAR. I AM A STRONG BELIEVER THAT HAVING IOWA AND THEN NEW HAMPSHIRE AS THE FIRST TWO STATES IS THE RIGHT WAY FOR A PRESIDENTIAL SELECTION PROCESS TO BEGIN, BECAUSE IT MEANS THAT THERE'S A PERSONAL EVALUATION DONE, A VETTING THAT GOES ON PERSON TO PERSON. RATHER THAN JUST SELECTING PEOPLE BASED ON THEIR GENERAL REPUTATION OR THEIR ADS, PEOPLE GET TO KNOW THE CANDIDATES. AND THAT, I THINK, HAS TO BE PROTECTED. SO I WILL -- I WILL WORK HARD IF I'M THE NOMINEE OR THE NEXT PRESIDENT TO PRESERVE IOWA AND NEW HAMPSHIRE'S ROLE COMING AT THE BEGINNING, AND THEN OTHER STATES WILL HAVE TO FIND A WAY TO --

Borg: BUT YOU CERTAINLY DID NOT CRY ABOUT THE DATE BEING MOVED TO JANUARY 3.

Romney: NO. AND IN SOME RESPECTS, THE SPECIFIC DATES THAT IOWA AND NEW HAMPSHIRE CHOOSE, THOSE ARE DATES THAT ARE OUT OF OUR CONTROL AS CANDIDATES. WE TAKE WHAT IS GIVEN TO US BY THE PARTIES. BUT LET'S SAY IF ANOTHER STATE WERE TO JUMP HEAD -- AN XYZ STATE JUMPS AHEAD AND SAYS, NO, WE'RE GOING TO GO ON DECEMBER 15, I WOULD CRY FOUL AT THAT. THAT WOULD BE SOMETHING THAT I SIMPLY COULD NOT SUPPORT, BECAUSE I DO BELIEVE THAT THE IOWA/NEW HAMPSHIRE STARTING GATE PROCESS IS THE RIGHT WAY FOR US TO SELECT OUR NOMINEE.

Glover: YOU MENTIONED THAT THERE ARE SEVERAL CANDIDATES IN THE REPUBLICAN FIELD WHO ARE IN YOUR SLICE OF THE IDEOLOGICAL SPECTRUM, THE SORT OF SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC AND FOREIGN POLICY CONSERVATIVES. HELP THE TYPICAL IOWA ACTIVIST SORT THROUGH ALL THAT. WHY MITT ROMNEY AND NOT SOME OF THE OTHER CANDIDATES WHO ARE TAKING ESSENTIALLY THE SAME SLICE OF THE PHILOSOPHICAL PIE AS YOU ARE?

Romney: WELL, FORTUNATELY THERE ARE SOME DIFFERENCES, AND SOME OF THE ISSUES THAT PEOPLE FOCUS ON, LIKE ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION, THERE ARE BIG DIFFERENCES. ON THAT ONE, FOR INSTANCE, SENATOR MCCAIN INTRODUCED THE BILL IN THE SENATE, WHICH I THINK HAS BEEN WIDELY CRITICIZED. I WAS OPPOSED TO THE BILL THAT HE BROUGHT FORWARD. MIKE HUCKABEE SUPPORTED, FOR INSTANCE, SPECIAL TUITION BREAKS TO THE CHILDREN OF ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS. THOSE KINDS OF DIFFERENCES I THINK MAKE A DIFFERENCE. AND THOSE OF US WHO HAVE BEEN VERY STRONG OPPOSING ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION I THINK WILL BENEFIT. AND SO I BELIEVE THERE ARE DIFFERENCES DESPITE OUR GENERAL PHILOSOPHICAL ORIENTATION. I ALSO THINK A BIG DIFFERENCE IS OUR BACKGROUNDS AND LIFE EXPERIENCE. I SPENT MY LIFE IN THE PRIVATE SECTOR IN SMALL BUSINESS, BIG BUSINESS. I'VE TURNED THINGS AROUND. PEOPLE WANT SOMEONE WHO ACTUALLY HAS THAT EXPERIENCE AND KNOWS HOW TO MAKE THINGS HAPPEN. AND FINALLY AS A GOVERNOR, I GOT HEALTH INSURANCE IN PLACE FOR ALL OF OUR CITIZENS. ALL OF THE CITIZENS IN MY STATE ARE ON TRACK TO GET HEALTH INSURANCE, BUT WITHOUT A GOVERNMENT TAKEOVER, WITHOUT NEW TAXES REQUIRED. AND PEOPLE IN IOWA WANT TO SEE A REPUBLICAN WHO CAN WORK WITH DEMOCRATS TO ACTUALLY GET THE JOB DONE ON A WIDE ARRAY OF ISSUES NOT JUST, IF YOU WILL, CONSERVATIVE ISSUES LIKE ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION BUT ALSO ISSUES LIKE HEALTH CARE AND EDUCATION.

Yepsen: GOVERNOR, LET'S STAY WITH HEALTH CARE FOR A MOMENT. YOUR CRITICS ARE SAYING THAT IN YOUR NATIONAL HEALTH CARE PLAN THAT YOU HAVE BACKED AWAY FROM WHAT YOU DID IN MASSACHUSETTS. IS THAT TRUE?

Romney: NO, I VERY MUCH LIKE WHAT WE DID IN MASSACHUSETTS. I THINK OUR PLAN IS IDEAL FOR OUR STATE. IT MAY BE IDEAL FOR SEVERAL OTHER STATES, BUT I WOULDN'T SUGGEST THAT IT'S IDEAL FOR EVERY STATE. THERE'S SOME SIMPLE REASONS. IN MASSACHUSETTS, 7 PERCENT OF OUR POPULATION WAS UNINSURED. IN TEXAS, 25 PERCENT IS UNINSURED. SO WHAT WORKED IN MASSACHUSETTS IS PROBABLY NOT GOING TO WORK IN TEXAS. IN CALIFORNIA, THE COST OF A POLICY FOR AN INDIVIDUAL -- HEALTH CARE POLICY IS ABOUT $2000 A YEAR. IN NEW JERSEY IT'S $6000 A YEAR, SO NEW JERSEY NEEDS TO DO SOME REFORM OF THEIR HEALTH INSURANCE REGULATIONS BEFORE THEY PUT IN PLACE A NEW PLAN. SO I RECOGNIZE THAT THERE'S A PRINCIPLE OF FEDERALISM, LET STATES CREATE THEIR OWN PLANS AND HAVE THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT DO WHAT THEY DID FOR US, WHICH IS GIVE US THE FLEXIBILITY IN FUNDING AND IN THE MANDATES THEY GIVE US SO WE CAN CREATE WHAT WORKS FOR OUR CITIZENS. SO I LIKE WHAT WE DID. I THINK IT'S A GREAT MODEL. I HOPE OTHER STATES COPY IT, BUT I WOULDN'T MANDATE IT.

Yepsen: GOVERNOR, I WANT TO FOLLOW UP WITH YOU ON THE IMMIGRATION QUESTION. IS THERE A DANGER OF THE REPUBLICAN PARTY, IN ITS STRONG OPPOSITION TO ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION, IS TURNING OFF LATINOS TO THE PARTY, THAT YOU WILL FOREVER PRECLUDE YOUR ABILITY TO GAIN THEIR VOTES BECAUSE IT LOOKS LIKE YOU'RE BASHING HISPANICS WHEN YOU DO THIS? IS THERE A DANGER HERE IN THAT?

Romney: THERE PROBABLY IS. FIRST, IT'S IMPORTANT TO ME -- AND I DO THIS VIRTUALLY EVERY OCCASION I GET -- TO POINT OUT I LOVE LEGAL IMMIGRATION, THAT LEGAL IMMIGRATION IS GOOD FOR OUR COUNTRY. WE WELCOME PEOPLE COMING HERE LEGALLY. IT'S ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION WE HAVE TO STOP. BUT THERE IS POTENTIAL POLITICAL RISK. I THINK YOU'RE RIGHT, DAVID, THERE IS. BUT YOU HAVE TO RECOGNIZE WE'VE GOT TO DO WHAT'S RIGHT FOR THE COUNTRY. AND IT MAY NOT BE GOOD POLITICS FOR REPUBLICANS TO BE TALKING ABOUT ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION, BUT THE COUNTRY CANNOT CONTINUE TO HAVE PEOPLE FLOODING INTO THIS COUNTRY ILLEGALLY. IT'S JUST BAD FOR THE COUNTRY, NEAR TERM AND LONG TERM. AND IT MAY -- IT MAY HURT US POLITICALLY AS A PARTY, BUT WE HAVE TO STAND UP FOR WHAT WE THINK IS RIGHT. AND IN MY VIEW STOPPING ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION, IN PART TO PROTECT LEGAL IMMIGRATION, IS THE RIGHT THING FOR THE COUNTRY.

Glover: LET'S SORT THROUGH ONCE WE GET THROUGH THIS REPUBLICAN NOMINATION PROCESS, LOOK ACROSS THE AISLE, LOOK TOWARDS THE GENERAL ELECTION. DO YOU MAKE THE ASSUMPTION THAT HILLARY CLINTON IS THE NOMINEE FOR THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY?

Romney: I THINK IT'S PRETTY LIKELY AT THIS STAGE. I SAY THAT I DON'T LOOK AT POLLS VERY MUCH, BUT I GUESS WHEN I LOOK AT THE DEMOCRATS, I'M REVEALING THE FACT THAT I DO. HER NUMBERS ARE PRETTY COMPELLING IN BOTH WAYS, BOTH IN THE NATIONAL POLLS, WHICH GENERALLY DON'T HAVE A LOT OF IMPACT, BUT MORE IMPORTANTLY IN THE EARLY STATE POLLS. AND GIVEN HER LEAD IN BOTH, IT SUGGESTS THAT SHE'S GOING TO BE PRETTY TOUGH TO KNOCK OUT OF THE BOX SHE'S IN. SHE'S, OF COURSE, RAISED A LOT OF MONEY, SO SHE CAN PROTECT HERSELF IF SOMEONE COMES AFTER HER HARD. SO I THINK SHE'S THE MOST LIKELY. BUT, YOU KNOW, IF SOMEONE SAID, WOULD YOU, YOU KNOW, BET A HUGE STACK OF MONEY ON IT, NO, I WOULDN'T.

Glover: WELL, LET'S TALK ABOUT THAT MONEY THING FOR A SECOND. THERE'S BEEN AN INTERESTING PHENOMENON IN THIS ELECTION CYCLE. DEMOCRATS HAVE DONE A LOT BETTER THAN REPUBLICANS IN RAISING CAMPAIGN MONEY. REPUBLICANS TRADITIONALLY ARE THE PARTY THAT RAISES MONEY EASILY. WHAT'S GOING ON THERE?

Romney: WELL, I THINK A COUPLE OF THINGS. ONE, YOU KNOW, I THINK A LOT OF REPUBLICANS SAW MEMBERS OF OUR PARTY GO TO WASHINGTON IN BOTH THE SENATE AND THE HOUSE, TAKE CONTROL OF BOTH BRANCHES AND THEN THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH AS WELL, AND EXPECTED THE WORLD TO CHANGE, EXPECTED US TO REFORM WASHINGTON, TO REIN IN SPENDING, TO STOP PORK BARREL SPENDING, AND WE DIDN'T. REPUBLICANS IN WASHINGTON SEEMED TO CATCH THE SAME DISEASE A LOT OF DEMOCRATS HAD. AND AS I'VE SAID, WHEN REPUBLICANS ACT LIKE DEMOCRATS, IT'S NOT GOOD FOR AMERICA. IT'S ALSO NOT GOOD FOR REPUBLICANS. AND I THINK THAT'S ONE THING THAT'S HURT OUR PARTY. I THINK ANOTHER THING IS THAT THOSE THAT ARE TRULY ANTIWAR ACTIVISTS THAT JUST DON'T CARE WHETHER AL QAEDA IS GOING TO HAVE A SAFE HAVEN IN IRAQ TO BOMB US FROM OR NOT, THOSE PEOPLE ARE GOING TO FLOOD THE DEMOCRATS AND GIVE THEM THEIR MONEY. AND I THINK IT'S SHORT SIGHTED. I THINK THEY'RE WRONG BUT THERE ARE A LOT OF JUST ANTIWAR FOLKS THAT ARE ANXIOUS TO GIVE MONEY TO ANYBODY WHO SPEAKS THE MOST ANTIWAR RHETORIC THERE IS, AND I THINK THAT'S THE WRONG COURSE FOR THE NATION AS WELL.

Yepsen: GOVERNOR, I WANT TO STAY WITH THIS QUESTION OF CAMPAIGN MONEY FOR A SECOND. YOU'VE HAD SOME SUCCESS IN BUSINESS. YOU'VE DONE WELL IN LIFE BUT YOU'RE ALSO PUTTING A LOT OF YOUR OWN MONEY INTO YOUR OWN CAMPAIGN, AND SOME OF YOUR CRITICS ARE SAYING THIS REFLECTS THE FACT THAT MITT ROMNEY DOES NOT HAVE A BROAD BASE OF SUPPORT, CANNOT RAISE MONEY, GENERALLY, SO YOU'RE HAVING TO SELF-FUND YOURSELF. WHAT DO YOU SAY ABOUT THAT?

Romney: WELL, THE FACTS ARE PRETTY STRAIGHTFORWARD. I'VE RAISED MORE MONEY THAN ANY OTHER REPUBLICAN. DESPITE THE FACT THAT I'M NOT TERRIBLY WELL KNOWN, RELATIVE TO MAYOR GIULIANI AND FRED THOMPSON -- THOSE WERE HOUSEHOLD NAMES WHEN THIS GOT GOING -- I RAISED MORE MONEY THAN ANY OTHER REPUBLICAN, I THINK MORE THAN -- MAYOR GIULIANI COMES IN SECOND -- I THINK BY ALMOST $5 MILLION MORE THAN HE HAS. SO I'VE RAISED MORE MONEY, NUMBER ONE, AND, NUMBER TWO, FROM A LARGER NUMBER OF PEOPLE. I'VE GOT WELL OVER A HUNDRED THOUSAND PEOPLE WHO HAVE CONTRIBUTED TO MY CAMPAIGN, SO I THINK -- I'D MAKE EXACTLY THE OPPOSITE POINT. I'VE BEEN ABLE TO CONNECT WITH ENOUGH PEOPLE ACROSS THIS COUNTRY THAT THEY'VE BEEN WILLING TO WRITE CHECKS TO MY CAMPAIGN ON THE INTERNET, THROUGH THE MAIL, AND THROUGH PERSONAL APPEALS, TO GIVE ME THE BIGGEST FINANCIAL BASE OF ANY REPUBLICAN. AND OF COURSE I'M ALSO GOING TO CONTRIBUTE TO MY CAMPAIGN. I'VE GOT A LOT OF FOLKS WHO HAVE MADE REAL SACRIFICE TO HELP ME OUT. AND IN MY LAST TWO CAMPAIGNS, I ALSO CONTRIBUTED TO MY CAMPAIGN. OF COURSE I'M GOING TO DO THAT IN THE RACE FOR PRESIDENT. I THINK IT'S THAT IMPORTANT.

Glover: WELL, LET'S LOOK THROUGH SOME OF THE ISSUES THAT ARE FACING THE NATION RIGHT NOW. THERE'S BEEN A BIG FOCUS ON THE WAR IN IRAQ, BUT THERE'S A LOT OF SABER-RATTLING GOING ON NOW ABOUT IRAN. YOU'VE HAD SOME THINGS TO SAY ABOUT IRAN. WHAT'S AN ACCEPTABLE COURSE FOR YOU IN IRAN?

Romney: WELL, I'M VERY PLEASED THAT THE PRESIDENT THIS WEEK ANNOUNCED TOUGH NEW SANCTIONS AGAINST IRAN. I HAVE BEEN ARGUING SINCE JANUARY, WHEN I WENT TO ISRAEL AND SPOKE AT THE HERZLIYA CONFERENCE, ON TOUGH SANCTIONS, ECONOMIC AND DIPLOMATIC SANCTIONS, AS WELL AS EFFORTS WITHIN IRAN TO CONNECT TO PEOPLE THERE TO MAKE SURE THEY UNDERSTAND THAT THE NUCLEAR COURSE THEY'RE ON IS FOLLY AND THAT IT REPRESENTS ENORMOUS PERIL TO THEIR NATION. AND THIS IS A -- THIS IS AN ONGOING CAMPAIGN OF MINE. OF COURSE WE'RE GOING TO KEEP THE MILITARY OPTION ON THE TABLE AS WELL. PEOPLE AREN'T GOING TO LISTEN UNLESS WE SPEAK FROM A POSITION OF STRENGTH, AND AMERICA IS NOT GOING TO STAND UP AND SAY, AS I'M SURE SOME DEMOCRATS WOULD LIKE US TO, UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES WILL WE USE MILITARY FORCE TO KEEP IRAN FROM BECOMING NUCLEAR. THAT WOULD BE A TERRIBLE MISTAKE. AND OF COURSE WE HAVE TO KEEP MILITARY OPTIONS ON THE TABLE, AND THOSE OPTIONS -- THE MILITARY FOLKS CAN DESCRIBE BETTER THAN I -- BUT THEY RANGE FROM BLOCKADE TO ARIEL BOMBARDMENT. AND AS A RESULT OF OUR STRENGTH, I THINK WE HAVE A GOOD PROSPECT OF THE IRANIAN PEOPLE LISTENING TO US AND UNDERSTANDING THAT THOSE SANCTIONS, INCLUDING I WOULD INDICT AHMADINEJAD FOR INCITATION TO GENOCIDE. THAT WILL I BELIEVE HELP MOVE IRAN TO RECOGNIZE THAT THE COURSE THEY'RE ON IS PERILOUS AND WRONG.

Glover: IS WAR WITH IRAN, SOME SORT OF MILITARY INTERVENTION INEVITABLE? IS THAT JUST GOING TO HAPPEN?

Romney: OH, I HOPE NOT I DON'T BELIEVE IT IS. I REALLY DO BELIEVE --

Glover: WELL, THERE'S A FAIR NUMBER OF PEOPLE THAT THINK THAT'S THE COURSE WE'RE ON.

Romney: WELL, THAT MAY BE THE COURSE IRAN IS ON, BUT THAT'S NOT THE COURSE AMERICA IS ON. WHEN I WAS IN HERZLIYA IN ISRAEL, I LAID OUT A SEVEN-POINT PLAN TO GET IRAN TO ABANDON THEIR NUCLEAR AMBITION. I VERY MUCH BELIEVE THAT THAT'S WITHIN THE REALM OF REALITY. THAT'S THE COURSE WE HAVE TO PURSUE. WE DON'T WANT TO BE IN ANOTHER CONFLICT. WE DON'T WANT TO HAVE OUR MEN AND WOMEN IN HARM'S WAY. THAT'S THE LAST THING THIS NATION WANTS.

Borg: ARE THE SANCTIONS TOUGH ENOUGH?

Romney: WELL, THE NEW SANCTIONS THE PRESIDENT HAS PUT IN PLACE ARE VERY TOUGH, AND THEY'RE EFFECTIVE. I'VE ALSO CALLED ON STATES AND PENSION FUNDS TO DEVEST FROM ANY COMPANIES THAT ARE DOING SUBSTANTIAL BUSINESS WITH IRAN. WE NEED TO DO MORE OF THAT FROM THE PRIVATE SECTOR. AND, OF COURSE, IN PARTICULAR, WE NEED TO GET OTHER NATIONS TO JOIN US IN PUTTING IN PLACE TOUGH ECONOMIC AND DIPLOMATIC SANCTIONS ON IRAN, AND THAT INCLUDES CHINA. YOU KNOW, CHINA GETS A LOT OF OIL FROM PLACES LIKE SAUDI ARABIA. SAUDI ARABIA DOESN'T WANT TO SEE IRAN AS A NUCLEAR NATION. SAUDI ARABIA HAS SOME INFLUENCE WITH CHINA. WE NEED TO GET OTHER NATIONS TO JOIN US IN DRAMATICALLY TIGHTENING THESE ECONOMIC AND DIPLOMATIC SANCTIONS, BECAUSE A MILITARY OPTION IS THE LAST RESORT AND IT'S ONE WE HOPE THAT WE WOULD NEVER HAVE TO USE.

Yepsen: GOVERNOR, TALK ABOUT IRAQ FOR A MOMENT. WHERE ARE WE IN IRAQ AND WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?

Romney: WELL, WE'VE BEEN A LOT OF PLACES IN IRAQ. WE SAW EXTRAORDINARY SUCCESS IN THE FIRST DAYS AS WE KNOCKED DOWN SADDAM AND HIS MILITARY, AND THEN WE SAW US UNPREPARED AND UNDERPLANNED FOR WHAT OCCURRED FOLLOWING THAT. AND THAT LED TO GROWTH OF INSURGENCY AND SECTARIAN VIOLENCE. AND THEN A NEW GENERAL CAME IN PLACE; GENERAL PETRAEUS CAME IN PLACE AND A NEW STRATEGY, AND IT'S WORKING. WE'RE SEEING THE SUNNIS DO SOMETHING WHICH A LOT OF PEOPLE THOUGHT WAS IMPOSSIBLE, SUNNIS JOINING WITH US TO GET RID OF AL QAEDA. AND FOR ME, A KEY MINIMUM OBJECTIVE IN IRAQ IS TO MAKE SURE THAT WE DO NOT LEAVE BEHIND SAFE HAVENS FOR AL QAEDA OR HEZBOLLAH FROM WHICH THEY COULD RECRUIT, TRAIN, LAUNCH ATTACKS ON AMERICA AND OUR FRIENDS. AND WE ARE SUCCESSFUL AT THIS STAGE IN HELPING ELIMINATE THOSE KIND OF SAFE HAVENS, SO I'M ENCOURAGED. I THINK YOU'RE GOING TO SEE OUR TROOPS PLAYING, OVER TIME, MORE AND MORE OF A SUPPORT ROLE AND THE IRAQI TROOPS PLAYING THE PRIMARY OR FRONT ROLE. THAT'S WHAT GENERAL PETRAEUS IS AIMING FOR.

Yepsen: HOW LONG WILL THIS GO ON? HOW SOON BEFORE THE TROOPS COME HOME?

Romney: WELL, I THINK YOU'RE GOING TO SEE OVER THIS COMING YEAR, THE 2008 YEAR, YOU'LL SEE, AS GENERAL PETRAEUS HAS INDICATED, A BRIGADE A MONTH COMING OUT THROUGH JULY. THAT BRINGS A LOT OF OUR TROOPS BACK. I THINK IT'S LIKELY YOU'LL SEE US CONTINUE TO BRING DOWN OUR TROOP LEVEL AND PLAY MORE OF AN OVERWATCH ROLE. HE SUGGESTS AN INTELLIGENCE ROLE, AN AERIAL SUPPORT ROLE, LOGISTICAL SUPPORT ROLE, WHERE OUR MEN AND WOMEN ARE LESS IN HARM'S WAY, AND OVER TIME THOSE NUMBERS WILL CONTINUE TO COME DOWN.

Glover: THOSE POLLS THAT NONE OF US READ WOULD ALWAYS SAY THAT THE AMERICAN PEOPLE HAVE ALREADY TURNED AGAINST THIS WAR, THAT THEY DON'T SUPPORT THIS WAR, BUT THEY APPEAR FOR THE MOMENT WILLING TO TOLERATE IT. HOW LONG WILL THAT LAST? HOW LONG BEFORE THE AMERICAN PEOPLE SIMPLY SAY PUT A STOP TO THIS? IN OTHER WORDS HOW LONG DO WE HAVE TO EXTRICATE OURSELVES?

Romney: WELL, THE KEY, OF COURSE, IS THAT THE PRESIDENT AND LEADERS OF THIS COUNTRY HAVE TO COMMUNICATE TO THE NATION WHAT'S GOING ON AND BE HONEST ABOUT WHAT'S HAPPENING. WHEN WE MAKE UNREALISTIC ASSESSMENTS -- WHEN WE'RE TOO ROSY, WE LOSE A LOT OF CREDIBILITY AND PEOPLE WALK AWAY AND DON'T LISTEN ANYMORE. WHEN WE'RE TOO NEGATIVE, WHEN HARRY REID SAID WE'VE LOST THE WAR, PEOPLE WALK AWAY AND DON'T BELIEVE THAT EITHER. SO WE HAVE TO BE VERY CAREFUL NOT TO OVERSTATE WHERE WE ARE, TELL PEOPLE THE TRUTH ABOUT WHERE WE ARE, AND I BELIEVE THE AMERICAN PEOPLE WILL ULTIMATELY DO WHAT'S IN AMERICA'S INTEREST, AND WE'LL SUPPORT THAT.

Borg: YOU SEEM TO INDICATE THERE THAT THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION HASN'T BEEN FORTHCOMING WITH THE AMERICAN PEOPLE OR HASN'T COMMUNICATED WELL.

Romney: WELL, I THINK FROM THE BEGINNING THE ADMINISTRATION WAS NOT AS EFFECTIVE IN LAYING OUT ALL THE REASONS FOR ENTERING IRAQ AS THEY MIGHT HAVE BEEN, AND I THINK THAT CERTAINLY WHEN SECRETARY RUMSFELD SAID THAT WE'VE GOT A FEW DEAD ENDERS, WE'RE JUST GOING TO SWEEP THEM UP, AND IT WILL BE ALL BE OVER, I DON'T KNOW WHETHER HE WAS WRONG, BUT CLEARLY WE LOST A LOT OF CREDIBILITY AND THE AMERICAN PEOPLE BASICALLY TUNED OUT. AND I THINK THE SUCCESS WE'RE SEEING NOW AND GENERAL PETRAEUS'S TESTIMONY BEFORE CONGRESS FAR FROM THE MOVEON.ORG ASSESSMENT AND THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY'S ASSESSMENT THAT HE BE A STOOGE FOR THE PRESIDENT, THEY SAW A CREDIBLE GUY SAYING THE TRUTH. THEY SAW THE PRESIDENT LIKEWISE SUPPORTING HIM, AND I THINK IT'S REBUILT CONFIDENCE.

Yepsen: GOVERNOR, BACK UP FOR A MINUTE. TAKE A BIG PICTURE VIEW FOR ME, AND DESCRIBE WHAT YOUR FOREIGN POLICY WOULD BE AS PRESIDENT. HOW WOULD YOU SEE AMERICA'S ROLE?

Romney: WELL, I BELIEVE IT'S ESSENTIAL FOR AMERICA TO HELP LEAD -- FREE NATIONS SO THEY CAN BE STRENGTHENED, SO THEY CAN PROJECT THE EXTREME AND THE VIOLENT WITHIN THEIR MIDST. SO IF WE'RE TALKING ABOUT THE WAR IN THE MIDDLE EAST AND, FOR INSTANCE, THE NATIONS ARE THAT AFFECTED BY JIHAD IN ITS VARIOUS FORMS, RADICAL JIHAD, AND THAT'S FROM INDONESIA ALL THE WAY TO NIGERIA. IN THOSE STATES, I'D LIKE TO SEE US JOIN WITH OTHER NATIONS IN A NEW ALLIANCE OF FREE NATIONS TO HELP MODERATE ISLAMIC STATES HAVE THE STRENGTH TO REJECT THE EXTREME, THAT'S MILITARY STRENGTH AS WELL AS ECONOMIC STRENGTH AND SOME OF THE UNDERPINNINGS OF DEMOCRATIC INSTITUTIONS BEING DEVELOPED SO THEY CAN REJECT THE EXTREME AND GET RID OF ABU SA'ID AS THEY DID IN THE PHILIPPINES SO THAT WE DON'T HAVE TO DO IT FOR THEM. IN SOME CASES THAT MEANS WE'RE GOING TO HAVE SPECIAL PARTNERSHIP FORCES AS WE DID IN THE PHILIPPINES, SO THAT WE CAN HELP THE PHILIPPINE GOVERNMENT REJECT THE EXTREME. BUT WE'RE GOING TO PLAY AN ACTIVE ROLE HELPING SUPPORT OTHER NATIONS IN THEIR EFFORT TO ELIMINATE THE EXTREME RATHER THAN BEING THE NATION THAT'S ALWAYS CARRYING THE RIFLE ON OUR SHOULDER FOR THEM.

Glover: GOVERNOR, IF WE CAN BRING IT BACK HOME FOR A SECOND, THERE IS IN CONGRESS RIGHT NOW A NEW FARM BILL THAT'S BEING MARKED UP AND GETTING READY FOR A VOTE IN THE SENATE. NOW, I DON'T WANT YOU TO GO THROUGH THE ECONOMICS OF CROP INSURANCE AND ALL THAT, BUT TAKE A LOOK AT THAT FARM BILL AND TELL ME WHAT YOU LIKE IT AND WHAT YOU DON'T LIKE ABOUT IT, WHAT WOULD YOU CHANGE?

Romney: I DO LIKE MAINTAINING A PROGRAM OF FARM SUPPORTS. I DO NOT WANT TO SEE US, WITH REGARD TO OUR FOOD SUPPLY, IN THE SAME DEGREE OF INSECURITY THAT WE HAVE WITH REGARDS TO OUR ENERGY SUPPLY. SO I WANT TO MAINTAIN OUR SYSTEM OF FARM SUPPORTS, AND WHETHER THAT'S FOR LARGE OR SMALL FARMS, I WANT OUR SUPPORT SYSTEM KEPT IN PLACE. AND I WANT TO DO THAT AT LEAST OR UNTIL THE EUROPEAN NATIONS CHANGE THEIR SUPPORT SYSTEM, BECAUSE WE DON'T WANT TO HAVE OUR FARMERS AT A DISADVANTAGE RELATIVE TO OTHER NATIONS AND THEN FIND OUR AGRICULTURAL LEAD BEING DIMINISHED AS OTHER NATIONS STEP FORWARD. SO WE'RE IN NEGOTIATIONS IN THE DOHA ROUND AT THE WTO TRYING TO GET SUPPORTS REDUCED FROM OTHER NATIONS. IF WE CAN DO THAT COLLECTIVELY AS A GROUP OF NATIONS, FINE. BUT UNILATERAL REDUCTION IN FARM SUPPORTS, THAT'S NOT SOMETHING I WOULD FAVOR.

Glover: WOULD YOU PUT A LIMIT ON FARM SUPPORT PAYMENTS?

Romney: I'LL LOOK AT THAT. I HAVEN'T PROPOSED DOING THAT AT THIS STAGE. I REALLY DON'T THINK THAT WE WANT TO UNILATERALLY DISARM IN SOME WAYS SUPPORTING OUR AGRICULTURAL COMMUNITY UNTIL WE HAVE A FULL UNDERSTANDING OF WHAT THE EUROPEANS ARE GOING TO DO.

Yepsen: GOVERNOR, WE'VE ONLY GOT LESS THAN TWO MINUTES LEFT. PUT YOUR BUSINESSMAN HAT ON FOR ME. IS THIS SUBPRIME MORTGAGE CRISIS GOING TO TOSS OUR ECONOMY INTO A RECESSION?

Romney: IT DOESN'T HAVE TO. IT SHOULDN'T. IT'S MORE SEVERE THAN I THINK MOST PEOPLE ANTICIPATED. I THINK THE FEDERAL RESERVE HAS TAKEN BOLD ACTION AND I HOPE WILL CONTINUE TO MONITOR VERY CLOSELY. I DON'T KNOW IF THEY'RE GOING TO NEED ANOTHER RATE CUT, BUT THEY'RE DOING THEIR BEST TO MAKE SURE THAT CREDIT DOES NOT GET CRUNCHED THROUGH THE REST OF OUR ECONOMY. IT'S VERY FRUSTRATING. THIS DID NOT HAVE TO HAPPEN. THERE'S A FEDERAL AGENCY THAT'S RESPONSIBLE FOR KEEPING PRODUCTS THAT ARE UNREASONABLE FROM BEING OUT IN THE MARKETPLACE. THEY DIDN'T DO THEIR JOB. CONGRESS WILL PROBABLY GIVE THEM MORE MONEY TO DO A BETTER JOB. I'D FIRE SOME PEOPLE.

Yepsen: WHAT WOULD YOU DO TO KEEP THE ECONOMY STRONG AND TO AVOID THAT RECESSION?

Romney: WELL, THE RIGHT THING TO DO IS, OF COURSE, TO KEEP OUR TAX BURDEN DOWN. HILLARY CLINTON WANTS TO RAISE TAXES ON SOCIAL SECURITY. SHE WANTS TO RAISE TAXES ON INCOME. INHERITANCE TAXES SHE WANTS TO RAISE. CHARLIE RANGEL JUST YESTERDAY CAME OUT WITH A NEW SURCHARGE. IT WOULD BE THE BIGGEST TAX INCREASE IN THE HISTORY OF AMERICA. DEMOCRATS THINK THAT TO HELP THE ECONOMY, YOU TAKE MORE MONEY AWAY FROM PEOPLE. I THINK TO HELP THE ECONOMY, YOU REDUCE THE TAXES BEING TAKEN AWAY FROM PEOPLE. YOU ALSO GET OURSELVES ENERGY INDEPENDENT. IOWA PLAYS A KEY ROLE IN THAT REGARD. THAT'S ESSENTIAL TO HELPING THIS ECONOMY.

Yepsen: GOVERNOR, WE'VE GOT ABOUT FIFTEEN SECONDS. I'LL GIVE A FREE THROW. WHY SHOULD A REPUBLICAN CAUCUSGOER STAND UP FOR YOU ON CAUCUS NIGHT?

Romney: BECAUSE I CAN STRENGTHEN AMERICA. I'VE STRENGTHENED EVERY ENTERPRISE I'VE BEEN ASSOCIATED WITH. I'LL KEEP AMERICA STRONG. I'LL KEEP OUR ECONOMY STRONG. I'LL BUILD STRONG FAMILIES. I'LL KEEP US STRONG INTERNATIONALLY AND MAKE SURE THAT THE FUTURE IS BRIGHTER FOR OUR KIDS EVEN THAN IT'S BEEN IN OUR PAST.

Borg: THANK YOU, GOVERNOR ROMNEY.

Romney: THANKS, DEAN.

Borg: WELL, THAT'S IT FOR THIS WEEKEND'S EDITION OF "IOWA PRESS." BACK NEXT WEEKEND, OF COURSE, REGULAR "IOWA PRESS" AIRTIMES: THAT'S 7:30 FRIDAY NIGHT AND SUNDAY MORNING AT 11:30. I HOPE YOU'LL WATCH. I'M DEAN BORG. THANKS FOR JOINING US TODAY.

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Tags: campaign 2008 Iowa Mitt Romney politics presidential candidates Republicans