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Fox News "Fox and Friends" - Transcript

Interview

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MS. CAMEROTA: He may be a little down, but he's certainly not out. Mitt Romney and his wife, Ann, are vowing to keep his campaign alive despite a tough loss in Florida to Republican rival John McCain.

MR. DOOCY: Presidential candidate Mitt Romney joins us right now from Saint Petersburg, Florida.

Good morning to you, Governor.

MR. ROMNEY: Good morning, Steve. How are you?

MR. DOOCY: I'm doing fine. After Florida, going into Super Tuesday now, it looks as if your competitor, John McCain, has momentum. But the headline at your camp is, "Mitt won't quit," right?

MR. ROMNEY: Boy, that's for sure. We're finally getting where we wanted to be, and that is to have a two-person race. And Mayor Giuliani getting out, Fred Thompson getting out -- that makes a big difference. It looks like Mike Huckabee will stay in and that's obviously a bit of a challenge.

But in a two-person race, I think as people decide do they want to vote for John McCain to be the nominee of the Republican Party or do they want to vote for me, who does his best to bring together the Republican coalition that Ronald Reagan built, I think I stand a good chance in that contest. And we'll take that to 22 states and see if they agree.

MS. CAMEROTA: And yet, Governor, it's very interesting because Florida yesterday was the first state that was a Republican-only primary, meaning that John McCain could not rely on the independent vote as he had in, say, New Hampshire. So it seems like yesterday Republicans liked John McCain's Republican credentials.

MR. ROMNEY: Hey, he did a nice job yesterday. He was able to get two key endorsements in Florida. They gave him a big boost. There was a little confusion on some things that were said at the very end, as you probably know, and I think those things helped him. But you know, all in all he ran a very effective campaign.

And it's one state. We had four people running hard in that state. Next time we go along, I think you're going to see basically two. You know, I don't know what kind of support Mike Huckabee will get going forward. I think conservatives recognize that a vote for Mike Huckabee right now really means a vote for John McCain, so that may have them rethink that. But in a two-person race, I like my chances.

MR. KILMEADE: Right. We're going to find out who else likes Mitt Romney's chances with a lot of prominence in the Republican Party. In fact it's a number of people.

Also, it's kind of bugging me, Governor, that you went to bed later than me, are up earlier than me, and look better than us. You don't even look a little bit tired. His secret to not needing sleep, coming up straight ahead -- Mitt Romney, another segment.

MS. CAMEROTA: Yeah. Stick around, Governor. We'll be right back.

(Announcements.)

MR. KILMEADE: Governor Mitt Romney finished a strong second yesterday, and he has 22 states now on the shelf. So where does he -- how does he approach getting ahead of John McCain, or is it too late?

Governor Mitt Romney, maybe one of your best assets -- attributes is how many conservative talk show -- talk radio hosts have said, "John McCain, no way"; Republicans who have said, "I can't vote for this guy," from Hugh Hewitt to Rush Limbaugh and many others. How do you plan on tapping into that, if at all?

MR. ROMNEY: Well, I think one way is to have them understand, as they increasingly do, that this has come down to a two-person race, that with Mayor Giuliani out and with Mike Huckabee having done so poorly here in Florida that the options are me or John McCain. And that will bring a lot of conservatives together, if I'm successful in that effort. And I think in that case, there's a ceiling as to how many votes Senator McCain will get. That's the hope.

I want to take my campaign to places like California and Colorado and Georgia and of course Massachusetts and Maine and a lot of places where I have good support already and where I think the narrowing of the field, if you will, gives me a boost. And of course Senator McCain's going to be going to states where he thinks he's got the best shot.

But all in all, I think it's becoming a real race between two people who have two different views about the future of this country. I would never have supported the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law. I would -- from the very beginning I opposed the final version of McCain-Kennedy. It was an amnesty bill. And then of course McCain- Lieberman is in the same tradition of "blame America first." I think it's wrong-headed. And so, you know, we'll have a very different approach and a very different campaign going forward.

MS. CAMEROTA: Governor, you know Rudy Giuliani is expected to drop out of the race today. He's expected to endorse John McCain. Is that an endorsement you would have liked?

MR. ROMNEY: Oh, I think anybody likes a good endorsement. I think he made it very clear from the earliest debates that if he weren't in the race he would be supporting John McCain, and so I think he's just following through on what he's always said.

It's been a little unusual in one respect, which is that Mayor Giuliani's, if you will, rationale for his own candidacy was that he's the guy who had run something and that John McCain hadn't. That point still sticks. But I think as a more progressive member of the Republican Party, he felt more comfortable with a guy who, after all, was endorsed by The New York Times.

MR. DOOCY: All right. Governor Mitt Romney, we thank you very much for joining us. We know that you're going to be doing a lot of globe trotting over the next week before Super Tuesday.

Listen, Governor, as you go through hotels and airports and stuff like that, if you could switch all the TVs over to Fox News Channel wherever you're at, that would really help us out. Could you do that? Like, I think you're in a hotel right now. Just go out in the lobby and click it right over, could you?

MR. ROMNEY: (Laughs.) I'll do my best. Thanks, Steve.

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT


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