Fox News Interview with Mitt Romney - Transcript
MR. GIBSON: With me now, another possible contender, Republican Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney.
Governor, welcome. Let me show you this picture.
GOV. ROMNEY: Thanks.
MR. GIBSON: This would be if you were to decide to run. Your principal rivals might be John McCain and Rudy Giuliani. Now, they have both formed their exploratory committee. This weekend, you are repairing with your advisers to a special meeting -- I believe it's a secret location -- to discuss your future and the most important political decision of your life. Are you going to form an exploratory committee? Are you running?
GOV. ROMNEY: Well, it's a little early to discuss that. The people that are coming together this weekend are the people that I wanted to say thank you to for having raised money from my pack and being able to support races across the country. But of course, I'm going to have to give some serious thought to a decision about running in '08. That's a very difficult decision. It's an honor for anyone to be considered for a responsibility of that nature. But you know, frankly, I think we have to ask ourselves what kind of nation we're going to leave our kids and our grandkids. And I want to make sure that the America that my grandkids see is more prosperous and more secure. And that's something which is going to be weighing on my mind. I'll be talking to my family over the holidays, and I'm not planning on organizing a committee -- an exploratory committee -- immediately here as the other couple of guys have. But I'm going to be giving some thought to the entire matter.
MR. GIBSON: Not in '06, but maybe '07?
GOV. ROMNEY: Well, I think the time frame is not entirely locked down. But my expectation is that I'll make final decision probably after the beginning of the year.
MR. GIBSON: Okay. Governor, take a look at this, though. This is a picture of some of the many Republican contenders, and there are a lot of them. Not only McCain and Giuliani that we have talked about before, but there are others, you know, that have decided they're going to throw their hat in the ring. Newt Gingrich, Duncan Hunter, Tommy Thompson, Mike Huckabee are all there. One who is missing is George Allen, the Republican senator from Virginia who lost his race. A lot of people think if Allen is out of it, as he appears to be, that is actually good for you, that the same kind of Allen voter might be a Romney voter. What do you think?
GOV. ROMNEY: Well, I'm going to miss George Allen from the race. I want to make sure that we have a very strong contender with a positive message for the future that goes up against Hillary Clinton. I expect she'll be the Democratic nominee. And we're going to have to make sure that we have the kind of Reagan optimism that America's looking for. America did not, on last Tuesday, reject conservative principles. They didn't say we want higher taxes. They didn't say that we want more government. But instead, they want to have the kind of leadership that Ronald Reagan represented. And we're going to have -- among all of those Republicans, someone's going to emerge as the person who can lead our party and lead our nation in an absolutely critical time. So, I'm glad to see a good, strong field of Republicans. I tell every one of my colleagues get in there; if you got a shot, make sure that you give your best shot at it, because we want to have a strong person running in '08.
MR. GIBSON: Well, let me show you this other thing. This is what has happened as a result of the 2006 midterm election. Nancy Pelosi is the speaker of the House, and she and the Democrats control the House and, by a bare margin, control the Senate. Is that good for the GOP to have the Democrats running the Congress for the next two years? As a matter of fact, is it good for you?
GOV. ROMNEY: Well, I'll tell you one thing, we're going to find out. It's up to the Democrats, frankly. If they use their leadership position to irritate and to detract America and keep us from focusing on the things that are most critical, then it will hurt the Democrats, and it will help the Republicans. On the other hand, if they do what's in the best interest of the country and focus on getting the job done that they were elected to do, why it will help the Democratic Party. So, it's up to the Democrats. But I'm concerned that some of these committee chairs will use their new-found leadership responsibilities to begin investigations and to irritate and to take us off track, and that's something which I think will hurt them and probably slow down a very important time in our country where we have some real challenges. Look, what we face today is as tough a series of challenges as this nation has ever faced before. And now is the time for us to come together as Republicans and Democrats and to pursue common ground opportunities to solve the problems we face.
MR. GIBSON: Governor, I know you are a nice guy, you don't take pleasure in other people's difficulties and so forth. But nonetheless, did you have a little chortle -- just a teeny one -- when Nancy Pelosi's first move backfired in her face backing Murtha, and her own caucus elected a guy she would rather not have had, Steny Hoyer?
GOV. ROMNEY: Well, I'm pleased that somebody who became really the poster man for cut and run did not take on a senior leadership position. That was a concern to me as she nominated him. I was surprised that she did that. I'm sure she had her reasons. But Congressman Murtha, being such an outspoken individual for just leaving Iraqi, is, in my view, an individual who would send a very bad message to our troops and to the effort to combat the jihadists. This is going to be a long effort. It hasn't been perfectly run so far, that I'll give you. But the idea of just turning and running out has huge humanitarian consequences, potentially geopolitical consequences for our nation and for the world. And I'm, frankly, quite pleased that the Democrats wisely selected someone besides Congressman Murtha.
MR. GIBSON: Nonetheless, do you think -- the president's still the commander in chief, but he has been hobbled to a significant degree by this election. And he has been told -- by the people, evidently -- that they want a new direction in Iraq, and that's going to come from the Democrats. Has that made Iraq, now, the Democrats' war?
GOV. ROMNEY: Well, the Democrats are going to have to participate now. They can no longer just say that they don't like what's going on. They're going to have to say what they do think ought to be going on. And I'm hopeful that Democrats and Republicans can put aside partisanship and say what is the right course going forward. Obviously, we anticipate that the Baker-Hamilton commission will come up with some ideas and some perspectives that will be useful. But there's going to have to be a conclusion reached by both parties and a decision as to how to proceed in Iraq. And my hope is that we will find a pathway to reach a successful conclusion in Iraq that will not cause us to cut and run, will not cause us to be in a position of weakness around the world and will not cause the Iraqi people to have massive outbreaks of active civil war and humanitarian crisis. So, this is something the Democrats are now going to share in decision-making and, fortunately, we'll be able to have a bipartisan -- hopefully a bipartisan -- conclusion rather than simply Democrats saying that Republicans got it wrong.
MR. GIBSON: Governor, on the culture issues -- gay marriage. It is illegal in your state by judicial fiat. I have heard you call for a vote to determine whether it ought to be legal in Massachusetts. A vote of who? The legislature or the people?
GOV. ROMNEY: Well, both. I do not favor same-sex marriage. I don't favor civil unions. And a group of 170,000 people signed a petition saying we don't want to have gay marriage in Massachusetts. And our constitution says that only 25 percent of the legislators are needed to support that petition in order for it to go on the ballot before the people. Well, the legislature refuses to take it up. The constitution requires them to hold a vote, but they don't want to take it up, because they know that the 25 percent are there, and the people would have a chance to vote. I think it is an outrage that a legislature, which is supposed to be concerned about democratic rights, would ignore the rights of the voters of their state to be able to define marriage as they think it should be defined, frankly, as a relationship between one man and one woman.
MR. GIBSON: Governor, lastly, turning back to 2008. Of all the contenders and potential rivals for you should you make that decision, one name I left off of there is Jeb Bush, and he's not on that picture. He says he doesn't want to run, worried about the dynasty problem. Should Jeb Bush be in the picture?
GOV. ROMNEY: Well, he'll have to make his own decision. I think he has made his decision. There are some others who also would be terrific. Condoleezza Rice would be one. They've decided not to get involved in the race. But frankly, Jeb Bush is probably the best governor in this country. He would be a terrific president, but apparently he's decided now is not his time, and maybe never is his time, but I think he'd be fabulous.
MR. GIBSON: All right. Governor Mitt Romney, a big meeting this weekend. Make sure to come back and tell us when you're ready.
GOV. ROMNEY: (Laughs.) Thanks, John.
MR. GIBSON: All right, Governor Mitt Romney of Massachusetts.
Governor, thank you.