ABC "Good Morning America"-Transcript
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: Mitt Romney joins us now from Melbourne, Florida. Good morning, Governor.
MR. ROMNEY: Good morning, George. How are you?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: I'm doing well, thank you. You know that quarrel over abortion continued in the spin room after the debate. Senator Brownback's campaign says you're still being evasive on the abortion issue, and they've looked at the 2004 platform on abortion, which says, "we support a human life amendment to the Constitution, and we endorse legislation to make it clear that the 14th Amendment's protections apply to unborn children."
Do you support that part of the Republican platform?
MR. ROMNEY: You know, I do support the Republican platform and I support that being part of the Republican platform, and I'm pro-life. You know, Sam Brownback, he's a sweet guy, but he's obviously in a pretty desperate situation at this point. I'm pro-life. I've received an award from the Massachusetts Citizens for Life for my public leadership. This happened for me; the first time I didn't just talk about life and abortion, but actually the bill came to my desk that dealt with life and death, and I simply could not sign a bill authorizing the creation of new embryos to destroy them. So, I came down on the side of life. I wrote an Op Ed piece that I'm pro-life and that's where I am. And I know a lot of good people have a different view, but he ought to get to his own campaign, and stop worrying about mine.
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: You also said yesterday that you're not a carbon copy of President Bush. And I know you think that President Bush has mismanaged parts of the war in Iraq in the past. But what would you be doing differently from the president right now?
MR. ROMNEY: Well, right now I don't have a different view than he does with regards to the surge. I think the surge is the best course that we have at this stage. We're seeing some positive reports coming from the Brookings Institution. We're going to see a report from General Petraeus soon. I think it's the best shot we have to see stability in Iraq, and I certainly hope it's successful.
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: But even Secretary Gates said yesterday, Defense Secretary Gates said the Iraqi government hasn't met the political benchmarks that it needs to meet. If they don't meet those goals, what would you do to the Iraqi government? Would you pull out?
MR. ROMNEY: Well, you always maintain what is our greatest interest, and that is to see our troops protected, as well as to see stability brought to the region and to that country. And you put pressure on the people you think have to take action to get them to take action. I'm not going to lay out a series of threats until we see what the circumstances are. But obviously we've been disappointed with the success of the government there in reaching the kind of accommodations across ethnic groups that could reduce ethnic tensions. But the success of our military over the past several weeks has been encouraging. Certainly not conclusive at this point, but encouraging.
And I think it's time, by the way, for a degree of public surge. Families are making a surge of support for this troop surge, and I think the public across the country, and leadership as well should get behind the families and express our appreciation to them.
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: You know, just before the debate this weekend, the cameras caught quite an exchange you had with an Iowa talk show host. It was during a break in his program, but the cameras caught it. He was pressing you on your Mormon faith. Let's take a look.
(Begin videotaped segment.)
MR. ROMNEY: I mean, I don't like coming on the air and having you go after my church and me and my religion.
MR. : I'm not going after your church.
MR. ROMNEY: I know, that's right. But, I'm not running as a Mormon. And I get a little tired of coming on a show like yours and having it all about Mormon.
MR. : I don't mind it being about that.
MR. ROMNEY: I do. I do.
MR. : I agree with the ethics of your church, for Pete's sake.
MR. ROMNEY: So do I. So do I.
(End videotaped segment.)
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: Governor, I know this is frustrating for you, but our recent polls show that a third of Republican primary voters are still uncomfortable with the fact that you're a Mormon. Almost 40 percent of evangelical Christians. Don't you need to do more to address this?
MR. ROMNEY: Oh, possibly. You know, I see the same polls that say a very large percent are concerned that somebody's over 70 years old or if somebody's been married more than once. And frankly, the other guys don't get asked about those questions every time they go on the air, but there seems to be an interest constantly in my faith, and that's fine, on the part of the American people. But I think the media has more interest than the people do. And frankly, over time, my experience has been that people in America are not going to make their choice about who should lead the country based on what church they go to.
But ultimately, that's a decision they'll have to make. And as Dr. Richard Lamb said, he's one of the leaders in the Southern Baptist Convention, he said, look Mitt, you're not running for pastor-in- chief. And that's absolutely right. I'm running to help lead this country. To make sure that it's strong, that its future is bright. I want to see us have a stronger military, a stronger economy, and stronger families. And that's what I'm going to fight for.
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: You know, we say a different Mitt Romney there. A little feisty, a little flash of anger. And I saw one of your debate preps secret Saturday night. I'll let everyone in on the secret. I saw you and your family go to see "The Bourne Ultimatum," instead of staying home and going to bed early that night. So what did you learn from CIA agent Jason Bourne?
MR. ROMNEY: (Laughs.) He's quite an exciting guy, isn't he? It's wonderful to go into the world of make-believe now and then and actually find that it's less combative on the movie screen than it is sometimes in the debate -- (inaudible). (Laughs.)
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: Okay, Governor Romney. Thanks a lot for sharing some time with us this morning. We'll see you soon.
MR. ROMNEY: Thanks, George.