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Fox News Interview with John Gibson - Transcript


Location: Unknown

MR. GIBSON: With me now is someone who knows Kerry very well, the Republican governor of Kerry's home state of Massachusetts, Governor Mitt Romney.

So, Governor, do you buy the sincerity of Kerry's apology today? Sort of late, but there it is.

GOV. ROMNEY: Well, it's awful late, to begin with. And secondly, ask yourself, why couldn't it just be a straightforward apology? I'm happy to get any apology. I think our men and women in uniform deserve an apology. But what came out seems like kind of an attack apology. He's attacking people for misinterpreting supposedly what he said, but what he said was as plain as plain could be. And he really ought to issue an apology that's as plan as plain can be, but you know, he's done what he's going to do now. And unfortunately, the damage is done. What he's communicated is that somehow that old idea that our military is not up to the national standard is underlined, and frankly, it's wrong. The military that serve from our state -- active duty, Reserve and National Guard -- are bright, capable, professional people. We ought to be proud of them, not denigrating them.

MR. GIBSON: Governor, you've been watching the senator for a long time. Is this out of the ordinary?

GOV. ROMNEY: Well, I think everybody in public life makes a slip or two. But generally, if they make a mistake, they recognize it, they apologize immediate and move on. What was surprising here is that he didn't recognize the mistake and immediately went on the attack, attacking people who pointed out the obvious that this is an unfortunate, disrespectful comment about our troops. He just wouldn't acknowledge that for almost two days. And, you know, it just -- well, it puts in context that old quote that came from the Edwards-Kerry campaign that there were two Americas: people who are at the top, who go to elite schools, and then the rest of the people in America. Well, that's wrong. There's one America.

MR. GIBSON: Governor, you know, John Kerry has a history of -- going back to 1971 -- of saying things that outraged his fellow -- his comrades in the military and has outraged members of the military from time to time ever since. Just a few months ago, he said something about U.S. troops terrorizing Iraqis which upset many who are serving in Iraq now. Do you think he actually has an actual animosity to the military?

GOV. ROMNEY: You know, he's served in the military, and I take off my hat to anybody who's served in harm's way protecting me and my family. I didn't have that privilege to serve, and I'm not going to be critical of his service. What I'm critical of is a constant belittlement of military involvement on the part of our troops. Time and again, he's said things that have been critical of our fighting men and women. It's a huge mistake. It misses the mark. If he's got a problem with policy, focus on policymakers and do that in a way that's not personally belittling. But he's missed the mark again here. And, of course, in his apology he also has missed the mark. He should just have come out and said look, I made a mistake, I'm sorry, didn't mean to say it.

MR. GIBSON: Governor, meantime, I think it was somebody earlier in the week that put together this what looks like a campaign poster, and it shows Republicans in '08. The ticket: Governor Mitt Romney on top with a running mate named Governor Jeb Bush. What about that?

GOV. ROMNEY: Well, frankly, Governor Jeb Bush, in my opinion, is the best governor in America. That includes all of us. He's a terrific person, and if he wants to run for president, I'd be happy to be his VP, but -- (laughs) -- I don't think he's running. And frankly, all of us are focused on '06. We've got a tough race this November. A lot of Republicans are facing uphill battles. This is a fight to make sure that we protect the homeland. The Democrats aren't willing to give the president all the tools that he'd like to have to protect us here, and so, that's on the line. And, fortunately, we have a president who's willing to do whatever it takes to protect the American people.

MR. GIBSON: Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney -- Governor, thank you very much.

GOV. ROMNEY: Thanks, John.

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