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Fox News Channel "Fox News Sunday" - Transcript

Interview

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MR. WALLACE: Iowa votes for change over experience for president. Now it's time for the first-in-the-nation New Hampshire primary. Will the Iowa bounce pay off for caucus winner Mike Huckabee? We'll talk with the former Arkansas governor about his plan for victory. Then, after spending millions and coming in second in Iowa, does Mitt Romney now have to win in the Granite State? We'll ask him.

Joining us now here in New Hampshire is former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney. And Governor, welcome back to "Fox News Sunday." Your main message here in New Hampshire is that people want to see Washington change, and that John McCain is not an agent of change. But back in 2002, when McCain was campaigning for you when you were running for governor of Massachusetts, you said this, and let's put it up on the screen: "He," McCain, "has always stood for reform and change, and he's always fought the good battle no matter what the odds.

Governor, why have you changed your opinion of Governor McCain?

MR. ROMNEY: Oh, I still think he's a battler for change. He's just been there 27 years and hasn't been able to get the job done. He's somebody who wants to change Washington. He talks about changing Washington. But he's been there so long, he's got so many lobbyists in each elbow, he's worked so long, in many cases he's the maverick against his own party. He has brought some bills in place, like McCain/Feingold, which hurt our party and I think hurt the First Amendment.

He fought for immigration law, which I think was a terrible course, which said that all illegal aliens that come here illegally would be able to stay here in this country forever. That was a mistake. So he's out there fighting. He's a good fighter. And I'll introduce him as a fighter and a friend, but I just disagree with him. And I think he's been ineffective in being able to make the changes that America wants to see.

Washington is broken. America is staying that loud and clear. You had in Iowa a number of experienced senators going up against folks that were new faces, governors, and the experienced senators lost. On the Democratic side, Barack came forward. On our side, Governor Huckabee and I outperformed the senators. And I think people want change from the outside.

MR. WALLACE: All right. Talking about you and change, McCain says, and let's put this up on the screen: "I have not changed my position on every major issue every couple of years." And the conservative Manchester Union-Leader newspaper here in New Hampshire gets the same note. "Granite Staters want a candidate who will look them in the eye and tell them the truth. Mitt Romney has not. He has spoken his lines well, but the people can sense that the words are memorized and not heartfelt."

And there was this piling on that Carl Cameron showed on you by the others in the debate. The impression seems to be, the line seems to be, forgive me, you're a phony.

MR. ROMNEY: You know, it's fine for people to try and push that as a political campaign, and as a theme. And the McCain folks have done that from the beginning. It's not going to stand up to the test of time. Very simply, because I was governor for four years. I served as governor, and you could see what things I did as governor, and my postures and positions as president are identical to those as governor. They all flow from them.

I get a lot of grief from the fact that I was effectively pro- choice, and that I became pro-life when I became a sitting governor. No question about that. I'm not going to apologize for it. It's true. But I have fought for traditional values throughout my term as governor. My posture on keeping taxes down and getting spending down in government is something I fought for throughout my term. I protected marriage in every way I knew how as a governor. And, you know, I'd also note that I did something that I don't think anybody thought was possible. I found a way to work with Democrats in my legislature to get healthcare, healthcare insurance for all our citizens.

So, I'm proud of my record and I'm running on my record. And my views are consistent with that record. And frankly, people can make all the jokes they want to, but when it comes time to have a face-to-face, we can talk with Senator McCain about the fact that he was against ethanol, until he was serious about being in Iowa, then he was for ethanol. And now he's against ethanol again. He voted against the Bush tax cuts, but now he says he'd be in favor of making the Bush tax cuts permanent. He was against the confederate flag being at the state house in South Carolina, but then he was for it. But now he's against it again.

And everybody over time is going to make an experienced judgment based on what they see at the time and what they think is right. And no candidate has been the same throughout the entire process. And if they have, I'll show you a candidate that ought to be pushed aside. Because, you know what, you should learn from experience, and if you want somebody who's never learned from experience, who's never made a mistake, I'm not your guy.

MR. WALLACE: Let me just say, as the moderator of the Fox presidential forum at 8 p.m. tonight on the Fox News channel, I can't wait. We're going to have a rumble here tonight, aren't we?

MR. ROMNEY: Depends on how you do. (Chuckles.)

MR. WALLACE: Well, I'm just asking questions. Let you guys go. You sound like you're loaded. I have been watching your TV ads in Iowa, and also here in New Hampshire. And I have to say, and I know you're going to disagree with me, I think a lot have been negative ads. Here's one targeting John McCain. Let's watch.

MITT ROMNEY FOR PRESIDENT TELEVISION AD: (From videotape.) McCain pushed to let every illegal immigrant stay here permanently. He even voted to allow illegals to collect Social Security. And Mitt Romney? Mitt Romney cut taxes and spending as governor. He opposes amnesty for illegals.

MR. WALLACE: Governor, let's talk about the accuracy of that ad. McCain never voted to let illegals collect Social Security. They would only get the money if they became legal, which is, in fact, what current law is.

MR. ROMNEY: Now what happens under the bill that, and by the way, 44 Republicans voted no on that. And they said it was because it gave the illegals Social Security. He has illegals that are here, which he then gives amnesty to, a form of amnesty to, to make them legal, and then they get credit in Social Security payments for the years they were here illegally.

MR. WALLACE: Did you know that the law currently is that if someone is an illegal and has been working for years and putting money into Social Security, when they become legal that they get the Social Security that they put into the system?

MR. ROMNEY: And the difference with his bill is that everybody in this country, everybody in this country who's here illegally is going to be given permanent residency in this country, and will be able to collect Social Security benefits for the years which they were here illegally.

MR. WALLACE: You would agree it's misleading to the extent that they don't get Social Security while they're illegal.

MR. ROMNEY: Every news article I saw about that bill and every senator who voted against it said what it does is it gives illegals Social Security.

MR. WALLACE: Not until they become legal.

MR. ROMNEY: Not until they've given amnesty to make them legal, which is giving somebody who's here today illegally, Social Security.

MR. WALLACE: All right. Let's talk about this question of amnesty.

MR. ROMNEY: Let me -- by the way, both those positions of John McCain's are so far out of touch with the people of this country, that there was an outcry from the public saying, you know what, he is simply wrong. Giving those people who come here illegally a right to permanently reside in the U.S., that's wrong. And then voting, saying that when they become legal here, under his form of amnesty, they're going to get Social Security, the American people rose up so loudly that Congress had to reverse itself and say what we put in place is simply wrong.

MR. WALLACE: Let's talk a little bit about this plan, the McCain plan that you say is so out of touch. Back in 2005, why did you tell the Boston Globe that McCain's plan was quote, "reasonable." And let's put the rest of it up on the screen. "Romney described immigration proposals by McCain and others as quite different from amnesty, because they required illegal immigrants to register with the government, work for years, pay taxes, not take public benefits, and pay a fine before applying for citizenship."

Some people would say that's a flip flop on your part, sir.

MR. ROMNEY: It would sure sound like it if you didn't have the rest of the story. And that was, all of these bills or all of the provisions, including Cornyn's, I believe, were reasonable. And I think they were reasonable. But the final bill that John McCain came out with was not the one he had there. McCain/Kennedy had amnesty for ten, 20 percent of the illegal aliens. But the final Senate bill that he brought forward, the final bill that he championed, along with Ted Kennedy and others --

MR. WALLACE: But his final bill did register -- you did have to register with the government, you did have to work for years, you did have to pay taxes, you couldn't get public benefits, and you paid a fine. True?

MR. ROMNEY: The final bill he brought forward said that every illegal alien, every single illegal alien, other than those who commit crimes, was able to stay in this country permanently. That was what was wrong with it. It was a blanket amnesty in form.

MR. WALLACE: So you have not flipped flopped on this issue?

MR. ROMNEY: I had opposed this bill from the outset. I've opposed it from the outset.

MR. WALLACE: Even though you said in 2005 McCain's plan was reasonable?

MR. ROMNEY: Again, McCain's original plan is quite different from the final plan. And I said all the bills were reasonable. I also, in the same quote, said none of them had I studied in depth, none of them had I endorsed. I would review them and decide which one I would endorse. The final bill that came out was a bill that said every illegal that come to this country gets to stay here permanently. That is a form of amnesty. Technically it is not, of course. Because there's a fine. Technically it is not amnesty. But in reality, in the colloquial expression that Americans would use, saying that everybody who's here illegally gets to stay here illegally, is a form of amnesty.

And Chris, we can spend all of our time trying to define words. Or we can say, do you agree with the McCain position that all those people who come here illegally should be able to stay. I do not. I've always said I think that's wrong. It's the wrong course for America.

MR. ROMNEY: Do you have to win in New Hampshire? How can a former governor of the neighboring state of Massachusetts, who has a vacation home here in New Hampshire, how can you lose in this state and still be a credible candidate?

MR. WALLACE: Easy. Because there's been a lot of people who have not won either Iowa or New Hampshire that go on to win the nomination of their party. And, as for being from the neighboring state, I'm not sure people in New Hampshire are wild about the neighboring state of Massachusetts.

But I'm planning on winning here. I hope I win here. But if I don't win here, it's probably going to be a close contest. And I, frankly, don't think that the Republican Party is going to nominate John McCain. I don't think they're going to nominate a person who voted against the Bush tax cuts, and who consistently says he would do that same vote the same way again. He'd continue to vote against the Bush tax cuts. We're a tax-cutting party. He's not a tax-cutting leader.

Secondly, I don't think they're going to vote for somebody who's in favor of having all aliens stay in this country indefinitely, making them legal, if you will. I don't think that's going to happen. And so, whether it happens here in New Hampshire or whether it goes on to Michigan, I don't think the American people are going to line up behind John McCain.

MR. WALLACE: Governor Huckabee's campaign chairman, Ed Rollins, suggests that they may enter, the Huckabee camp, a temporary alliance with McCain against you. He said, and let's put it up on the screen: "We're going to see if we can't take Romney out. We like John. Nobody likes Romney."

MR. ROMNEY: (Laughs.)

MR. WALLACE: Your reaction, sir.

MR. ROMNEY: Well, he also said he wants to knock my teeth out and shoot me. And so, he's kind of a colorful character. My comment was, look, if you're going to knock my teeth out, just make sure not to touch the hair.

MR. WALLACE: Finally, how much of your personal fortune have you spent on this campaign so far?

MR. ROMNEY: More than I'd like to, but less than I'm willing to.

MR. WALLACE: Well, you have to disclose everything else. Can you tell us how much you spent?

MR. ROMNEY: On January the 15th, but not before then.

MR. WALLACE: Why not?

MR. ROMNEY: Well, there are certain competitive advantages I have by not letting my competition know exactly what I'm doing. And I intend to hold those competitive advantages as long as I can.

MR. WALLACE: Have you set a cap, a limit, an upper limit on how much you are willing to spend to get yourself elected president.

MR. ROMNEY: No, but Ann has. (Laughs.)

MR. WALLACE: So there's enough -- (inaudible.)

MR. ROMNEY: Absolutely.

MR. WALLACE: Governor Romney, we want to thank you so much for sharing part of your campaign day with us. And especially after seeing how fired you are this morning. We look forward to seeing you tonight at the presidential forum. Should be interesting.

MR. ROMNEY: Thanks, Chris. Good to see you. Thank you.

MR. WALLACE: Up next, the man of the moment in the Republican race. Mike Huckabee. Can he keep the momentum going after Iowa? And now persuade New Hampshire voters he's the one?

(Commercial break.)

MR. WALLACE: We're back live from the Fox box on the campus of St. Anselm College, just outside Manchester, New Hampshire, where in just two days the first-in-the-nation primary will be held. And joining us now fresh from his victory in Iowa is former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee.

Governor Huckabee, congratulations and welcome back, sir.

MR. HUCKABEE: Thank you, Chris. It's a pleasure to be back.

MR. WALLACE: You are talking somewhat less about faith here in New Hampshire, and more about economic populism, looking out for the little guy. In a sense, are you trying to rebuild the Republican Party?

MR. HUCKABEE: I think the Republican Party needs some repair. The Republican Party needs to remember that its strength was being the champion for small business. Eighty percent of all jobs in this country come from small business. If we become the party that forgets that, if we become the party that does not empower the individual, who wants to struggle from his place at the lower end of the economic spectrum up the ladder, then we're going to lose a lot of the base who gave us great strength, that helped us to become the majority party, that built the Reagan coalition. That also helped elect both George Bush 41 and George Bush 43.

MR. WALLACE: As some of your critics, conservative critics, say, this sounds like Democratic class warfare.

MR. HUCKABEE: Not at all. It is not class warfare. Look, I'm not about wanting to make rich people poor. I just would like to see that poor people have a chance to get rich. And if we have an economic system that ignores the fact that $3 a gallon gasoline really does hurt a working-class family; healthcare costs going up double digits, really affects people's lifestyle. And we've got people who when asked how's the economy doing, they just look around and say it's just doing terrific. Okay, macroeconomy is doing great. You can take a look at the stock market and take a look at how certain portfolios are performing, and it looks great.

But translate that down to the factory worker who loses his job, take that down to the single parent for whom every day is a struggle to keep food on the table, and our party had better be talking to those people, because there's a whole lot of them. Put it this way. Abraham Lincoln said it this way: God must love the common man, because he made so many of them.

MR. WALLACE: Your big idea in this campaign. You're one of the few, I've got to say, who has a big, new idea, is doing away with the IRS, and creating the fair tax, which would be a consumption tax on all goods and services. Now, you and I have argued this several times so far this year.

MR. HUCKABEE: Right.

MR. WALLACE: I want to go at it one more time. President Bush's tax commission says that a fair tax would reduce taxes for those making less than $30,000 a year, and those making $200,000 a year, and it would increase taxes for everyone else. That doesn't help the little guy.

MR. HUCKABEE: But his tax commission did not look at the fair tax. They look at a consumption tax without the prebate provision, and the provisions in the actual fair tax proposal.

MR. WALLACE: But that's how it ended up making, reducing taxes for people making less than $30,000. It did that. They did look at a prebate.

MR. HUCKABEE: Well, but the actual analysis was not of the fair tax proposal. The reason I think that's important is because his commission was essentially a group lobbyists. Of course they don't like the fair tax. These are the guys that are going to go out of business. Thirty-five thousand lobbyists in Washington. Do you think they like the idea that a tax would be so simple that they couldn't really go in there and tinker with a congressman and get him to --

MR. WALLACE: (You think ?) President Bush was in bed with a tax lobbyist?

MR. HUCKABEE: No. I think that he appointed a group of people that are tax experts but they're tax experts tilted toward keeping the system the same, with a few tweaks. This is not a system. Put it this way, 80 percent of the American people say we need a major overhaul of the tax system, not a tweaking of the tax system. And what the fair tax does, it eliminates all of the current penalties on productivity. I

would suggest this, I would even challenge the other candidates. If you don't want the fair tax, tell me what you would do that would still eliminate capital gains, dividend taxes, income taxes on both corporations and individuals, payroll taxes, and there would be a better system that could empower people to go out and earn and keep what they earn.

MR. WALLACE: Governor, you have also been critical of the president's foreign policy. You've gotten some attention for this in foreign --.

MR. HUCKABEE: Oh, a little bit of attention.

MR. WALLACE: In Foreign Affairs magazine, you write, and let's put it up, "The Bush administration's arrogant bunker mentality has been counterproductive at home and abroad." You also want to shut down Guantanamo, you also want to ban waterboarding. Governor Romney says this sounds more like Obama and Clinton and Edwards than it does like a Republican.

MR. HUCKABEE: I spent a couple of hours with 12 different general officers from the Navy and the Army and the Marine Corps. It was very fascinating discussion. I share the same view that Colin Powell does, that every general officer that I know in the military shares, and that is that when you engage in torture, you do two things. First, you do not get the information that you are really seeking, because it's rarely reliable. And the second thing is that you do something to the people who carry out the torture, and I'm not sure we want to do it. And that is, that we ask them to violate the very code that we teach them when they go into the military.

MR. WALLACE: But I wanted to follow up on this question of the arrogant bunker mentality. Because ever since you wrote it, you have been portraying it as well, this is Don Rumsfeld refusing to go in with enough forces. I read the article, and know yesterday you were challenging Mitt Romney. I read the article. That wasn't your point. Your point was that we need to make our fight against the terrorists, not against the world, that we have been making it against the world. In what way has President Bush made our fight against terrorism a fight against, in effect, our allies in the rest of the world?

MR. HUCKABEE: Well, I think that the general thing is that when we say you're either with us or you're with the terrorists, that's sort of, here's the line in the sand and it's all or nothing. It sort of defies the basic rule of politics in that you want somebody to be with you 100 percent, but they're with you 80 percent, that's better than zero percent. Once you define the terms as 100 or zero, you often are going to get zero when you could have had 80. That's my point.

And I do stand by the fact that we did not listen to many of our military leaders when they told us how many troops we needed. That was, I think, a mistake that most people acknowledge. It was interesting to me that Governor Romney, who you just had on the program, made the comment, I think it was yesterday in fact, he said that under his foreign policy if he were president, it wouldn't be a my way or no way foreign policy. That essentially mirrors what I've been saying.

And I was glad he agreed with me on that one.

MR. WALLACE: At last night's debate, you said that you supported President Bush's troop surge when he announced it in January of last year. But let's take a look at what you actually did say in January, and this is when Romney had already said that he approved of the surge. You said, "Well, I'm not sure that I support the troop surge if that surge has to come from our Guard and Reserve troops, which have already been overly spread."

Governor, you are not a supporter of the troop surge that you represented yourself as last night.

MR. HUCKABEE: Well, I supported the surge. I questioned the use of our Guard and Reserve in repeated deployments, because as a governor I have seen what that has done to our own Guard troops. About 90 percent of our Guard have been deployed now to Iraq, and some repeated deployments, long periods of time. Three out of five years. These are citizen soldiers. These are people who certainly are willing to go. I've never heard any of them complain. But it's a real incredible, I think, challenge for not only the soldier, but more importantly, for their families, their employers, and their communities.

And what we've done with Guard and Reserve forces has got to be changed. It's one of things that I would do as a president. And my point was, and remains, that if we're going to have the kind of war we're going to have, we've got to have more troops at the beginning.

MR. WALLACE: Governor, I'm not saying you're right or wrong. I'm simply saying that you misrepresented yourself last night when you said you approved the troop surge. In fact, days later you said you weren't sure you supported a troop surge. The fact is, the Guard and the Reserve have been a part of the troop surge.

MR. HUCKABEE: They have been a part of it. And my point was, and remains, that we need regular Army. We've got to beef it up. The surge is working. I think one of the things we've seen, it's been a dramatic success, and hat's off to General Petraeus. And I'm grateful that he's been in that position.

MR. WALLACE: Let's talk about the comments of your campaign chairman Ed Rollins, who says you may enter a temporary alliance with McCain to take out Romney. Is that your plan here?

MR. HUCKABEE: No. I love Ed. Every now and then I have to reign him in. He's an old boxer and loves to fight. And it's not that we're conspiring with John McCain. Look, I've made no secret that I have great admiration for John McCain. I consider him not only a friend and a colleague, we differ on some issues. But let me tell you what I respect about him. I think he's maintained the high road in the campaign, in a manner in which he's right. He has staked out his positions. He has taken positions that sometimes are counter to maybe the, say, the conventional Republican, but he's done it with conviction and with courage, and I can respect that. And I think he's come to respect me, and that's all in the world there is.

Both of us, I'll tell you want we have in common. We have both been brutally assaulted by Governor Romney with amazingly misleading ads that attacked and distorted and misrepresented our record. Romney attacking me in Iowa, attacking him in New Hampshire. I do think it's kind of created a brotherhood here. I would not deny that, but it's because we both been the recipients of millions of dollars, millions of dollars worth of negative ads.

MR. WALLACE: Let's talk about where your campaign stands now. You won, by all accounts, a remarkable victory in Iowa. You got, what, 60 percent of the voters there were evangelicals, 80 percent of the people who voted for you said they were evangelicals. Don't you still have to demonstrate that you can reach out to a broad cross section of voters?

MR. HUCKABEE: Oh, I think not only that I have to, I think I am, Chris. If you look at those numbers carefully, we had a majority of the women, we had a majority of the younger voters in the Republican primary, we had a majority of those who made less money than the ones who made more. Which really kind of affirms my statement that people are looking for a president that reminds them of the guy they work with, not the guy that laid them off. I think that what you saw in Iowa was, you have a lot of evangelicals, but most of supported me. But 40 percent didn't.

So it's not like they're all marching in lock step and I say, hello I'm an evangelical, and they all say praise the lord and pass the ballot. I wish it were like that. I'd have won by a bigger margin. I won by a really good margin. And here's what people have to remember.

We're number one in Delaware. We're leading in South Carolina. We're leading in Florida. We're second in California. We're leading in places where it's not the evangelical vote, it's about people who really do want a president who's going to bring some significant differences. Not just for the Republican Party but to this nation. And also will focus more on, as I often call it, the vertical politics of up and down, not the horizontal politics of left, right, liberal and conservative.

MR. WALLACE: We've got about a minute left. How well do you have to do here in New Hampshire, and have you seen a boost in your campaign resources, your money, to put it bluntly, since you won in Iowa?

MR. HUCKABEE: Big jump in the resources. Our online contributions at mikehuckabee.com continue to just set new records each day. Our fundraisers, we used to do $25,000 fundraisers. We now do $250,000 fundraisers when we do them. People are beginning to realize, this guy could win. And that was the only thing before that was happening.

MR. WALLACE: And how do you have to do here in New Hampshire?

MR. HUCKABEE: You know, most people didn't expect me to be in the top four or five, so I think if I beat those expectations, we're going to have a great victory. We'll go on from here.

MR. WALLACE: Third, right?

MR. HUCKABEE: Third would be fine. I mean, if we do third, or even fourth, I think we're going to be sailing on and we're going to win South Carolina. But let me tell you what's happening in New Hampshire. We are seeing great crowds, and they're jazzed and we're pumped.

MR. WALLACE: Well, that's 'cause you're playing rock music.

MR. HUCKABEE: That's what it is. (Laughs.)

MR. WALLACE: Thank you for joining us.

MR. HUCKABEE: Thank you, Chris.

MR. WALLACE: We have to leave it there. But we'll see you also tonight at the Fox presidential forum.

MR. HUCKABEE: I look forward to it. Thank you.

MR. WALLACE: Me too.


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