Fox News "Fox & Friends" - Transcript
MS. CARLSON: Some tough times for candidate Mitt Romney in Iowa. He's dealt with blows to his faith and some dropping poll numbers, but can he bring it all back?
MR. DOOCY: Fresh from his Iowa debate yesterday, former Massachusetts governor and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney joins us live today from Cedar Rapids.
Good morning to you, Governor.
MR. ROMNEY: Good morning, Steve.
MR. DOOCY: All right. Well, you've been in the news a lot regarding something that Mike Huckabee said that's going to be in a New York Times Magazine article coming up this Sunday. He said something that, according to one of the members of your own church, says is a smear of Mormons. What did Mr. Huckabee say to you yesterday before or after the debate regarding that?
MR. ROMNEY: Well, he said he apologized, and I of course accepted his apology.
Frankly, attacking another person's religion has no place in a political campaign. We've got extraordinary issues and challenges in America right now. We should be talking about our records, about our position on important policies, about our vision for the future. And if I think we're able to get that done, I think we're going to be able to be successful in this campaign.
MS. CARLSON: You know, Governor, one of the most important things I think one of your campaign people said yesterday after that Huckabee line came out was, "Hey, let's spend more time focusing on how Mitt Romney has led his life. How has he raised his children? What kind of a family man is he? What kind of values does he have in his life? And that's what we should be paying attention to." Your response?
MR. ROMNEY: Well, thanks, Gretchen. I frankly do subscribe to that idea, and in my speech last week in College Station, Texas, I pointed out that perhaps the best way to understand someone's faith is to look at how they live their life. And I think people who look at me will recognize that my values are quintessential American values. We don't live a perfect life by any means, but we try to have a good family, and we've raised our kids in a way that I think makes them better than they would have been without the faith that they've had.
So I'm proud of my religion, and I know that some people don't want to, you know, allow me to be close to my own faith, but you know what? I am a member of my church. I'm a Mormon. I'm proud of the faith I have, and if that sinks my candidacy, so be it. I stand for what I believe.
MR. DOOCY: Well, for the things that you do believe, the National Review -- the very influential magazine -- you're the cover story. They have endorsed you for president of the United States. Why do they like you more than the other guys?
MR. ROMNEY: Well, you know, they wrote a pretty good article, I must admit.
MR. DOOCY: Yeah. I bet you liked it.
MR. ROMNEY: (Laughs.) That was good news. Having sort of the mouthpiece for conservatism that William Buckley put together endorse you is good news. And frankly what they said is that I have the capacity by virtue of my record and my positions to bring together all three parts of the conservative coalition that have required -- been required for us to win the White House, and that's social conservatives, economic conservatives, and foreign policy conservatives. And my philosophy is to bring together all of these elements of our party and to make sure that we maintain the conservative principles that have allowed this nation I believe to become very strong over these last couple of decades.
MS. CARLSON: You know, Governor Huckabee -- some of his people have said, "Look, he shouldn't have to answer questions about faith either, just because he was a preacher in the past part of his life." Do you agree with that?
MR. ROMNEY: Oh, I don't think he should have to talk about his life as a preacher and his comments made before he was in public office. Of course, just like me, he'll be asked about questions he made once he's in public office.
And likewise he opened the door in some respects by running ads in the two heavily Evangelical concentrated states -- Iowa and South Carolina -- that describe him as a Christian leader. Of course, in New Hampshire where there are not as many Evangelicals, he doesn't mentioned that -- it's just says a "proven" leader. So he's obviously appealing to people of his faith, and that's something that clearly opens a door to that inquiry.
MR. DOOCY: One thing about the National Review that you probably liked was the fact that they saw some parallels between you and Ronald Reagan.
MR. ROMNEY: Any parallel like that I must admit I like. (Laughs.)
You know, anybody feels that they're a pale comparison to Ronald Reagan, but he did something which our country desperately needs today, and that is remind people of the optimistic core in this country, remind us of our values, of our family orientation, of our belief in a purpose greater than ourself in life. And at the same time, he said, "I'm going to grow this economy, I'm going to cut taxes; we're going to take off and out-compete the Russians." And then he built a strong military -- so strong that they couldn't keep up.
And those frankly -- those policies of strengthening America and relying upon conservative principles are what I believe America needs today.
MR. DOOCY: Well, it is a pleasure having you joining us today from Cedar Rapids. And by the way, Governor, since you got up so early, you can keep that centerpiece that is just over your right shoulder. Go ahead and put it on your bus.
MS. CARLSON: (Laughs.)
MR. DOOCY: You can haul that around today. Take a look at it. What is that thing behind you?
MR. ROMNEY: (Laughs.) Why, that's a beautiful piece of artwork. Can't you tell?
MS. CARLSON: Yes.
MR. DOOCY: (Laughs.)
MS. CARLSON: Well, we were inside your bus with your sons, and it was pretty darn clean, so I think that flower could find a nice place there. Hopefully that bus will come back and visit us again on "Fox and Friends."
MR. ROMNEY: Well, Gretchen, I think it could. My boys are back in Iowa with the bus, so it's all over the country.
MR. DOOCY: Thanks, sir. Have a great day.
MR. ROMNEY: Thanks, Steve, Gretchen.