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Fox News "America's Newsroom" - Transcript

Interview

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MS. KELLY: Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney joins us now live with his take on it from Florida.

Good morning, Governor.

MR. ROMNEY: Good morning, Megyn.

MS. KELLY: Let me start with this latest news that you made this morning by saying that if John McCain gets this nomination and winds up in the White House, he will take this country on a liberal Democratic course. Really?

MR. ROMNEY: Well, he has three pieces of legislation he's know for. He's been in the Senate for 25 years and the great accomplishments legislatively that have his name at the top are McCain-Feingold - which, obviously, took a whack at the First Amendment and badly effected the power of money in politics; it gave power to people like George Soros they never imagined they'd have - and then, of course, there was McCain-Kennedy - which has been described as an amnesty bill for illegal aliens - and his most effort is McCain-Lieberman - and this is bill that would put about a thousand dollar gasoline charge tax on top of the American citizens. I just don't think that going to be the way that America wants to head.

MS. KELLY: Let me challenge you on that for a bit because from the war on terror to the war in Iraq to gay marriage to abortion, John McCain has taken some pretty staunchly conservative views. So much so that certain other Republicans have said that to call him anything other than a conservative is just nonsense. Do you discount those votes that John McCain has, that history he has in the U.S. Senate?

MR. ROMNEY: I certainly don't. I respect his position on Iraq because I share his same position on that issue, but there are certain pieces of very important legislation that he's known for with his name at the top of them. All three of them were, if you will, taking a left turn. They're liberal in their orientation. I think they were badly flawed and, in some respects, I think they underscore the fact that he has said time and again that he doesn't understand how the economy works and I think those bills prove it.

MS. KELLY: We're going to get to that quote in just a minute, but let me just ask you about something McCain said about you this morning. Or, I should point out, more accurately, McCain's campaign.

They released a statement saying this about you. I'd like to get your reaction. They say, "Mitt Romney has proven in this campaign that he will say anything to anyone at any time if he thinks it will help him politically. His stunning capacity to reverse his position on virtually every issue casts serious doubt on his ability to lead." Your response, Governor?

MR. ROMNEY: Well, you know, there's an old saying. What Peter says about Paul tells you more about Peter than it does about Paul. I think it was Senator McCain who voted against the Bush tax cuts and now says he's for the Bush tax cuts. It was Senator McCain who was against ethanol, then for ethanol, then against ethanol.

And I think, you know, the last few days he came out and attacked me on a matter with regards to Iraq that was, frankly, totally, wrong. I think every major news media that took a look at it recognized that it was a desperation attack on his part. And I think Senator McCain is willing to say anything he has to say to try and get elected and he's been looking for this job for a long, long time. And I'm afraid the voters of Florida recognize that this is not a time for America to elect a president who was the author of McCain-Kennedy, the amnesty bill, McCain-Feingold attack on the First Amendment and McCain- Lieberman, which would cost the average family here in Florida an extra thousand dollars a year for gasoline.

MS. KELLY: Senator McCain was making the rounds on the Sunday talk shows yesterday and did call you out on one quote, which you've just referenced. I want to play it for our viewers and give you the chance here on Fox to respond to it.

It is McCain - well, he's attacking you over the following interview you gave to ABC News. Let's play this out and I'll have you respond. This is you. This is you making the quote about the Iraq timetable.

(Begin video.)

MS. COKIE ROBERTS (ABC News): Do you believe that there should be a timetable in withdrawing the troops?

MR. ROMNEY: Well, there's no question but that the president and Prime Minister al Maliki have to have a series of timetables and milestones that they speak about, but those shouldn't be for public pronouncement.

(End video.)

MS. KELLY: And John McCain says that is you endorsing a timetable for withdrawal, saying that it should be a private one - it shouldn't be shared with the public - but that, indeed, there should be a timetable. He says that's the Democratic strategy, not a strategy we want in a Republican presidential candidate.

MR. ROMNEY: Well, obviously, his comment is dishonest, isn't it? Because, that's not what I said. What I said is that that are timetables and milestones and we have timetables and milestones. We, for instance, are bringing down five brigades by July and so we have a series of timetables and milestones. Every major news organization that's looked at my comments and heard me in every debate - I've said there should not be a specific date for withdrawal. I've said time and time again. He knows that. That's underscoring the very fact I'm pointing out that he'll say anything to get elected. It's not going to work.

MS. KELLY: Governor, let's talk about McCain and the economy for a minute because, sort of, the back and forth between the two of you this weekend was him attacking you on that comment on Iraq and you attacking on comments he's made about what he does know or doesn't know about the economy.

He was asked about his prior statements saying he knows less about the economy than he knows about certain other issues. He accuses you of exploiting that to say, McCain admits he doesn't know anything about the economy. What's the truth?

MR. ROMNEY: Well, he's spoken several times about it. He actually said that if he was going to select a vice president it would have to be somebody who understood the economy because that wasn't something he was terribly familiar with. He spoke both in '05 and again in '07, both times saying that he was not terribly familiar with how the economy worked and I think he's right. And frankly, I think the pieces of legislation he's noted for suggest a lack of understanding of how the economy works.

In particular McCain-Lieberman: this is bill that would add a thousand dollars to people's gasoline bill every year; a gas tax, if you will. And, it's imposed only on Americans. And instead of saying, this should be done on a global basis - look, global warming is not called America warming for a reason. America is not the largest emitter of CO2. China is. And putting in place a bill which costs Americans a thousand dollars a family and costs the Chinese nothing makes no sense at all. It would cost us jobs in the country, at the same time put a huge burden on American homeowners.

So, it underscores the fact that, when he indicates that he's not terribly strong on the economy, that he's right.

MS. KELLY: Governor Romney, we will be covering you here at Fox. My colleague Bill Hemmer, sitting right next to me, will be down, covering your campaign, tomorrow night in Florida. We hope you speak with him and we thank you for speaking with us here in "America's Newsroom" this morning. Best of luck to you.

MR. ROMNEY: Thanks, Megyn. Good to be with you.


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