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Fox News "Fox and Friends" Interview - Transcript


Location: Charleston, WV

Fox News "Fox and Friends" Interview

MR. DOOCY: Super Tuesday getting started with a bang -- even though many consider a make or break date, candidates are not slowing down even for a second. Republican White House hopeful joins us right now live from Charleston, West Virginia.

Good morning to you, Governor.

MR. ROMNEY: Good morning, Steve.

MR. DOOCY: You're a long way from home. Are you going to be voting today in Massachusetts?

MR. ROMNEY: I am going to be voting in Massachusetts. But the last 36 hours have been a little crazy -- went from Tennessee to Georgia to Oklahoma to California and then the red eye back to West Virginia this morning, so it's nonstop.

MR. DOOCY: Okay. I know that you're appearing on our program today because there are a lot of voters who have not yet decided -- you know, is it going to be McCain; is it going to be Mitt; is it going to be Huck? This is your chance: What do you want to say to people out there?

MR. ROMNEY: Well, these are really critical times for our country. We face extraordinary challenges from the jihadists, from new competition from Asia. We see our economy getting weaker. People wonder how they're going to pay their bills -- gas bills, heating bills. And if America keeps on the same track we're on, we're not going to remain the most powerful nation on earth.

Washington is fundamentally broken and it's not going to get changed by people who've spent their whole life in Washington. You're going to have from somebody come from the outside the way Ronald Reagan came from the outside and shake Washington up, and that's exactly what I intend to do. I don't think it's also possible to have somebody lead our party who is very much outside the house that Reagan built.

Senator McCain's a fine fellow, national hero, but his positions on the keystone issues of his 25 years are positions that are more like Democrats than like those of Republicans.

MR. DOOCY: Sure. All right. What do you say to critics who say, "You know, Mitt Romney is not going to get the nomination and in fact, he and Mike Huckabee are just splitting the vote and they should both get out"? What's your message to those cynics?

MR. ROMNEY: (Laughs.) Well, the nature of politics is that you look at the score. We've had eight tests so far. I've won four states. Senator McCain has won three, and Mike Huckabee has won one. I won a big state in Michigan. John McCain won a big state in Florida, but I was only three or four points behind him in Florida, so hardly a blowout.

This weekend in Maine, it was a very tight race there originally. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, the two senators there, supported McCain, campaigned for him all over the state, but we beat him there by -- I think it was 53 to 20 points. So I'm pleased with the progress I'm seeing.

And then take a bellwether state for our party like California -- if the polls are right, it shows me in a dead heat race with John McCain in California. Who'd have thought that a year -- excuse me, a week ago? So I'm seeing a rallying of support by conservatives who say we just can't have probably the most liberal known senator among Republicans leading our party as we go into the nomination.

MR. DOOCY: Governor, why are you surging in California? Because you're exactly right: Not too long ago you were back in the middle, and suddenly some polls are showing you on top of John McCain out in that jackpot Golden State of California.

MR. ROMNEY: You know, I think the reason is that we've got a good team there that's banging on doors and calling people. But number two, it's the voice of -- well, it's the voice of Fox and Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh and Laura Ingraham and Hugh Hewitt and Lars Larson. The list goes on and on. You've got conservative spokespeople -- National Review with their editorial -- that have been sending materials into California and Californians are saying, "Wow, Mitt Romney really is the true conservative in this race, and John McCain would mark a dramatic departure from our party."

The proposals he's made -- amnesty for illegals, a $.50-a-gallon gasoline charge -- this kind of approach is so far from what Republicans believe that I think a lot of folks are having their minds concentrated in these last few hours.

MR. DOOCY: And Governor, what do you make of the letter that Bob Dole wrote to Rush Limbaugh to say, "Hey, lay off of John McCain. He's conservative enough"? Do you buy that from Bob?

MR. ROMNEY: Well, it's probably the last person I would have wanted to have write a letter for me. I think there are a lot of folks that tend to think that maybe John McCain's race is a bit like Bob Dole's race -- that it's the guy who's the next in line. He's the inevitable choice, and we'll give it to him. And then it won't work.

I think that the right course for a winning campaign against someone like Barack Obama is going to have to be somebody who can speak with energy and passion about the future of America, not another senator who can say, "Well, here's what I did on Bill H.1234; here's what I did on my committee assignment." The American people are so tired of listening to senators talk about their bills and their committees. They want to know how somebody has accomplished something for the people of their state or their city, somebody who's built a business, who ran the Olympics. They want somebody who's been in the real economy to fix our national economy.

MR. DOOCY: All right. Well, Mitt Romney, we thank you very much for joining us today. Good luck to you today, Governor.

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

MR. DOOCY: All right.

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