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Fox News "Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace" - Transcript


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WALLACE: Governor, welcome back to "Fox News Sunday."

ROMNEY: Thank you, Chris.

WALLACE: What do you hope to achieve over this next week in Tampa?

ROMNEY: Well, I'd like people to stand back and say, what are the big issues that America faces and what are the answers that I have and that Paul Ryan has for the issues that we face. And I believe that if people stand back and consider all that America has to deal with going forward, they'll recognize that we're the only team that has answers for these challenges.

And they're big and bold answers. America needs that kind of help at a time when so many people are out of work or underemployed or having a hard time making ends meet.

WALLACE: If voters take away one thing from your big acceptance speech on Thursday night, what do you want that to be?

ROMNEY: That I believe in America and in the American people, that I believe that this nation is unique and exceptional and that we have everything we need to continue to lead the world in prosperity and in peace.

WALLACE: In the wake of Congressman Todd Akin's comments last Sunday, the Obama campaign is once again attacking Republicans for what they call the so-called war on women. Now, I know that you have an economic argument about jobs and opportunity, but I'd like you to deal with the social issues aspect of this specifically.

How do you answer the Obama charge that they offer more support, more choice to women when it comes to abortion or rape or birth control or women's health care?

ROMNEY: Well, first of all, with regards to women's health care, look, I'm the guy that was able to get health care for all of the women and men in my state. They're just talking about it at the federal level. We actually did something and we did it without cutting Medicare and without raising taxes, number one.

Number two --

WALLACE: So you're saying --

ROMNEY: -- with regard --

WALLACE: -- look at RomneyCare?

ROMNEY: Well -- I'm very proud of what we did and -- and the fact that we helped women and men and children in our state.

Number two -- and we did it without cutting Medicare, which obviously affects a lot of women.

The -- the way the president cut Medicare, $716 billion for current retirees, that's a real problem.

And then with regards to contraceptives, of course, Republicans, and myself in particular, recognize that people should have a right to use contraceptives. There's absolutely no validity whatsoever to the Obama effort to try and bring that up.

And with regards to the issue of abortion, that is something where men and women have alternative views on that or different views. We look at an issue like that with great seriousness and sobriety and recognize that different people have reached different conclusions.

But it's not just men who think one way. Women also, in many cases, are pro-life. There are two lives at stake, the child, the unborn child, and the mom. And I care for both of them.

WALLACE: But according to the polls, there is a gender gap. You lead the president among men, he leads you among women.

Specifically, how much do you think Congressman Akin's remark about, quote, "legitimate rape," hurts you?

ROMNEY: Oh, I think it was a terrible statement on his part. I think it was uniformed. I think it was outrageous and offensive. I've asked him to get out of the race. I think I have distanced myself as -- from the kind of thing he said as far as I possibly can.

He was wrong. And it's a -- it obviously is being used by Democrats to try and cast a shadow on our entire party and it's not. It's -- the leaders of our party have pretty much unanimously said, you know, Mr. Akin, get out of the race, you're -- you've -- you said something which is highly offensive.

WALLACE: The Democrats are running some ads right now. It looks like your campaign logo, except it's Romney, Ryan, Akin.

ROMNEY: Well, it really is sad, isn't it?

With all the issues that America faces, for the Obama campaign to continue to stoop to such a low level, they understand and -- and they're -- they're wise enough to understand that people in -- like myself, who have asked Todd Akin to get out of the race, are doing so because we vehemently disagree with what he said and believe it hurts our party and, I think, is damaging to women.
WALLACE: Let's run through a few issues.

You say the president is raiding Medicare and that you would restore the $716 billion that he takes out of Medicare to pay for ObamaCare.

But the Medicare trustees say if you do that, that -- that part of Medicare, the hospital trust fund, starts to run out of money in 2016 instead of 2024.
Now, your big reform, the -- the premium support, doesn't kick in for another decade, so how would you keep Medicare solvent when it starts to run out of money in just four years?

ROMNEY: Well, I mean replacing Obama. And so the things I will replace ObamaCare with will also help hold down the cost of health care, keep it from growing at the massive rate it's been growing.

So I'm not just getting rid of ObamaCare, I'm replacing it.

And one thing is for sure, cutting Medicare for current seniors by $716 billion is not being done to save Medicare, it's being done to pay for ObamaCare. And restoring that money to Medicare does not make it less solvent, it makes it more solvent.

WALLACE: But can you give a -- a couple of examples of the specific things you would do between 2013 and '16 to help keep the hospital trust fund --

ROMNEY: You mean those --

WALLACE: -- solvent?

ROMNEY: -- you mean those three years?

WALLACE: Four years.


ROMNEY: OK, for the four years.


ROMNEY: Specifically, what's going to happen in those four years?


ROMNEY: Well, you -- you're asking for my plan for health care and it -- it indicates a whole series of things. One is to have individuals be able to purchase their own insurance and do so on a tax-advantage basis.

Two is to make sure that we protect people --

WALLACE: But I'm talking about Medicare.

ROMNEY: Well, but if you -- if you take action that helps bring down the cost of health care, slow down health inflation, that also helps Medicare.

But one thing is for sure, putting money back into Medicare helps it, it doesn't hurt it.

WALLACE: You accused the president of running an angry and desperate campaign. You've u -- even used the phrase, a campaign of hate.

The president, this week, said, look, we -- I've pointed out the differences between us on policy.

Where do you see a campaign of hate?

ROMNEY: Well, when the president accuses me of -- of being a felon or when his staff does and he doesn't distance from that. When they have a -- a PAC which -- which says that I'm responsible for someone's death and he won't distance himself from that.

I would suggest that that's a campaign of anger and divisiveness. I think his whole campaign he's been about dividing the American people. It's between the haves and the have-nots, the people of one location versus another.

This is one street versus another street. That's the kind of divisiveness that I think Americans recognize and I think it's one of the reasons why his campaign, despite spending massively more than our campaign, that his campaign hasn't gained the traction that -- that he would have expected.

I think people have seen this kind of a character assassination and divisiveness as being very different than the campaign of hope and change which he ran on originally.

WALLACE: You talk about spending, the Romney and Obama campaigns together so far have spent over a half billion dollars. And that doesn't even include any of the outside groups, any of the super PACs.

When I was talking with Mrs. Romney the other day, she said that if you're elected, you would like to begin to get some of this -- this huge amount of money, some would say obscene amounts of money, back out of politics and would consider accepting federal matching funds in four years.

Is that true?

ROMNEY: Oh, absolutely. I -- the -- this president, when he was candidate Obama last time, was the first post-Watergate candidate for president who said he was going to push aside the federal spending limits and spend an unlimited amount based on what he could raise.

And to be competitive, we obviously are following suit.

But I would far rather have a setting where we had both agreed to the federal spending limits.

Look, what -- what he's done has meant that both of us have to spend an inordinate amount of time fundraising. We can't spend as much time on the campaign trail. And, frankly, it increases the potential of money having influence in politics.

It's really, I think, an outrageous decision on his part and it, remarkably, to me, the more liberal voices that have been fighting for campaign finance reform for decades had almost nothing to say when their candidate was the one who blew up the campaign finance achievements that have been made over the coming -- over the past -- a decade or so.

WALLACE: You have taken a lot of heat about tax returns. And I want to ask you one specific question about that.

You've been running for president for almost eight years. And the question is, why didn't you, years ago, somewhere over the last eight years, go to the people running your blind trust and say to them, let's get out of the Swiss bank accounts, let's get out of the investments in the Cayman Islands, even if it means we have to maybe pay more taxes, so we can clear the decks politically?

ROMNEY: Well, first of all, there was no reduction, not one dollar of reduction in taxes, by virtue of having an account in Switzerland or a Cayman Islands investment. Those -- the dollars of taxes remained exactly the same. There was no tax savings at all.

And the conduct of the -- of the -- of the trustee in making investments was entirely consist with U.S. law and all the taxes paid were those legally owed and there was no tax savings by virtue of those entities.

WALLACE: But why not just go to him a long --

ROMNEY: And say --

WALLACE: -- time ago and get out of these things, because you knew -

ROMNEY: Don't -- don't invest in anything outside the United States? I don't know whether a trustee -- I mean I could have said don't make any investments in any foreign companies, in any foreign bonds, in any foreign currency, only U.S. entities. And, by the way, don't buy any foreign products, don't have any Japanese TVs or foreign cars.

I mean -- yes, I could have done that. But, you know, I did live my life and I expect that by virtue of disclosing all these things, people can take a look at it and see whether that's something the -- something they're comfortable with or not. I'm -- I'm not going to try and hide who I am and try and manipulate my life to try and avoid the truth.

WALLACE: So what do you make of this talk? I can't say it's all this talk, but -- but there is certainly some about the Cayman Islands and the Swiss bank account?

ROMNEY: Well, I understand that's what the Democrats and the Obama people will do. Again, their campaign is not the big -- about the big issues that America faces. Their campaign is not about the fact that you have 23 million people out of work and half the kids coming out of college can't find work.

Their campaign is trying to find something to say, gee, he had a Swiss bank account, which apparently was done by the blind trustee. I mean, I had no involvement in this, but the blind trust said we're going to have some currencies and U.S. currency and some in foreign currency. That tends to be something which investors do.

But they're trying to make that seem like it's some a -- unsavory action. And, frankly, all the taxes were paid exactly as owed and there was no tax savings by virtue of having that vehicle.

WALLACE: Finally, you are about to become the Republican nominee for president, one step away from the Oval Office. Your beloved father, George Romney, tried for this, didn't make it. You have tried for eight years.

I want to ask you, on a personal basis -- not political, but personal -- how do you feel? What are your thoughts as you take a very, very big step?

ROMNEY: Chris, you may find this hard to believe, but this, for me, is not at all about me or about what that means for me or what it means for our family. I mean, I -- this is -- this is not an ego ride for me. I'm really concerned about America.

And I think this president is weakening America in very fundamental ways. And a lot of people are suffering for it now. And the -- over the coming decade, the decisions he's making will cause a lot more people to suffer.

And I look at this as a responsibility and a privilege. It's an honor to be the nominee of my party.

But this is about an opportunity to get America on track again. And that's what I'm thinking about. Can I win this thing? Can I be successful in replacing President Obama?

If I can, I want to make sure that we get the country back on track.

So for me, I'm focused on not letting down the millions of people -- it's literally millions now -- who have endorsed my effort, who've sent checks in to help me campaign.

I feel an enormous responsibility. I don't feel ebullient with, oh, you know, aren't I great for having got this?

I feel like, wow, a lot of people are counting on me. They're hoping I'll be able to win and I'll be able to get America on track again.

WALLACE: All right, and I'm going to take one last swing at the personal side of this, though. And I take your point.

Have you been thinking a lot about your dad recently? And what would he say?

ROMNEY: I always think about my dad -- and my mom, for that matter. I think a lot about them. And, you know, I'm drafting a convention speech and thinking about the kinds of things my dad would say if he had the chance to offer that speech.

And I mean, I think, like most guys who have lost their mom and dad, we think about them a lot. I think about them when I pray. I think about them in the daytime and --

WALLACE: And what do you think he would say about you having taken the step that he was unable to in being the Republican nominee?

ROMNEY: He gave some advice to the new governor of Michigan, John Engler, years ago. And I've heard him give it to many people, which is: be bold. Don't worry about what people think, just be bold. Get the job done. That's the advice he'd give me.

WALLACE: Governor, thank you and have a good week in Tampa.

ROMNEY: Thanks, Chris.


WALLACE: Up next: the side of Mitt and Ann Romney you'd never seen with their family at their summer home in New Hampshire, as we continue from Tampa, Florida, site of the Republican National Convention.


WALLACE: And we're back in the Fox News skybox at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.

One of Mitt Romney's biggest problems is the perception pushed by the Obama campaign that he is out of touch and doesn't understand what many American families are going through. Earlier this week, the Romneys invited us to their New Hampshire vacation spot, opening their home to cameras for the first time in this campaign.


WALLACE (voice-over): The Romney's summer home is a beautiful place, right on the shore of Lake Winnipesaukee. But the first thing we noticed a sign next to the front door the boys gave their parents some year. Bed and breakfast, Ann and Mitt Romney, hosts.

MITT ROMNEY: It's not hot enough.

WALLACE: Inside, they were making Mrs. Romney's trademark buttermilk pancake. She prepares the batter. He cooks them.

M. ROMNEY: I know it's a little early. It's a little early. Ann is taking a look. I'm just going to do it anyway, see?

WALLACE: Honestly, this is the first time you ever done this in your life?


WALLACE (voice-over): Everything in the house is a family affair. They designed the island in the kitchen with a hole in it, so the grand children can join in.

ANN ROMNEY: There are sometimes as many six of them in there at one time, and they can work as well and make sandwiches or do whatever they can. And I stand here and kind of the orchestra leader.

WALLACE: You're kind of a short order cook, aren't you?

M. ROMNEY: Look at this -- she had to make two different types of batter.

WALLACE: Now, what do your grand kids call you?

M. ROMNEY: They call me papa. They call me papa.

WALLACE: And Mrs. Romney?

M. ROMNEY: It's Mamie.

For a while, for a blessed while, we were Ike and Mamie.

A. ROMNEY: It's a joke.

M. ROMNEY: You know, Ike an Mamie.

WALLACE: The governor served up the pan cakes and that started the first controversy of the day.

A. ROMNEY: Chris, a real maple syrup guy? This we tell you is New Hampshire maple syrup.

WALLACE: Well, is there any other kind?

A. ROMNEY: Yes, there is Vermont.

WALLACE: Vermont is a swing state.

A. ROMNEY: Right.

WALLACE (voice-over): Maple syrup from any state wasn't what the governor wanted.

A.ROMNEY: Are you putting peanut butter on my pancake?

M. ROMNEY: I'm not going to put in on Chris, don't worry, honey.


WALLACE: I decided to get off that sticky subject by quickly eating my pancakes.

(on camera): That's good.

A.ROMNEY: Yummy, isn't it?

WALLACE: That is delicious.

TAGG ROMNEY, MITT ROMNEY'S SON: What else are you going to say?


WALLACE (voice-over): That's their oldest son Tagg who was there with his wife Jen and their kids.

(on camera): So, Tagg, what are family meals like?

T. ROMNEY: A little bit of craziness. Dad always goes in line first because he doesn't want to wait for all the grand children because it takes forever. Parents are cutting their meat and he's usually finished by the time the rest of us sit down.

A. ROMNEY: He starts on the dishes, which is --

T. ROMNEY: He's early start on the dishes.

WALLACE (voice-over): Talk around the table is usually about family and sports and not politics, and they save the serious stuff for night time after the kids go to bed.

ROMNEY: Here in the family room and also we begin by taking one couple and let's talk about your life and the decisions you have and everybody offers advice.

WALLACE (on camera): Tagg and Jen, you like having your parents and your brothers and sisters in law, like having all weighing in on your lives?

T. ROMNEY: We are careful about the issues. But yes.

WALLACE (voice-over): The Romneys hold a family reunion one week each summer. The parents, their five sons and their wives, plus 18 grandchildren -- which brings us to the chore wheel. The kids have to make their beds, brush their teeth and read Scripture. Sons and their wives get to clean up.

M. ROMNEY: There are three areas that get messy. So, it's cleaning the three areas and sweeping the floors, and finally, kitchen duty cleaning up. So this changes every day by one motion and everybody gets a different job.

WALLACE (on camera): I notice, what's conspicuously missing here is Mitt and Ann.


M. ROMNEY: We are involved in all of the above.

WALLACE (voice-over): It was time to sit down with governor and Mrs. Romney. For someone who's been running for president, the better part of eight years, the polls show a lot of people still don't have a good fix on him.

(on camera): Mrs. Romney, your son Tagg says that you are the great Mitt stabilizer and you have said that sometimes you feel you have to talk them off of the rails. When do you bring out the stabilizer and what is it that you do?

A. ROMNEY: Well, you know, Mitt, can get intense sometimes and maybe people don't recognize that and also times he's just my stabilizer, too. So, it works both ways.

M. ROMNEY: We talk it out.

A. ROMNEY: You know, it's not anything specific I do. Being around each other, I think just being around each other gives us a sense of security and serenity and peace and all of those good things that just happen by being together.

M. ROMNEY: I think she has an intuitive sense in looking at people and considering individuals as to which people are telling us the straight story, which people are a bit phony. She has a sense of how other people might feel about something.

WALLACE: Let's talk about your role in the campaign and what your role would be in the White House. Do you give your husband advice?

A. ROMNEY: Not on policy.

WALLACE: Do you give advice on strategy? Do you give advice on staff?

A. ROMNEY: Poor Mitt, he gets advice from everybody and me.


M. ROMNEY: I was going to say, I didn't know she didn't give advice on policy.


A. ROMNEY: Yes, I might weigh in on that too sometimes?

M. ROMNEY: Ann is really good. She is good at seeing things in ways that others don't see them and being able to provide that openly to me. I value it highly.

She is -- she has been my best friend and my counselor throughout my life.

WALLACE: You do disagree on issues.

A. ROMNEY: Oh, you are not going to ask me which ones? I can tell you.

WALLACE: Can you give me one?


WALLACE: Why not?

A. ROMNEY: Because I think we have to have a united front on that area.

WALLACE: Let's talk about Planned Parenthood. You have serious health problems. Back in the 90s, you gave some money to Planned Parenthood.

What do you think of your husband's policy to cut off federal funding for Planned Parenthood?

A.ROMNEY: Well, it's important that distinction is made that it's federal funding. It doesn't mean that there's not going to be a Planned Parenthood. He and Paul are going to get to Washington and they are going to balance this budget. And they're going to have to be making -- there is going to be cuts. There's going to be cuts made to a lot of programs people are not going to like. And it's just what the reality of the situation is right now. We are going to have to face some tough places.

M. ROMNEY: I think Planned Parenthood, given the fact that it's a major provider of abortions, shouldn't be receiving federal funding. I think it should be receiving funding for people who want to contribute and support the efforts of breast exams and so forth. But I don't think it's a responsibility of the federal government to be providing money to Planned Parenthood.

WALLACE: Mrs. Romney, there is a perception among many voters that this fellow is out of touch. How do you help people feel his compassion, that -- for lack of a better phrase -- he feels their pain?

A. ROMNEY: I wish everyone could see him how I see him, because as a mother, I've seen him, how compassion he's been with me as a wife and raising small children and how he always valued my work as being more important than his.

WALLACE: How about the pain and compassion for the larger American family, for -- you know, all the folks out there who are struggling?

A.ROMNEY: Well, I think that's why we are running. Whenever I introduce or talk, especially fundraising groups, I look out and I see everyone is looking like they are doing well. I'm like, guess what, guys? We're not running for you. We're running for those folks that are really worried about how they're going to have a paycheck, or they're really worried about how they're going to be able to afford and educate their children. That's what we are running for. We're not running to make your lives easier.

WALLACE: Governor, does it bother you that according to the polls, people don't like you more or is that not important?

M. ROMNEY: You know, all I can do is it be what I am. Remember that Popeye line, I am what I am and that's all what I am.

And I'm doing my very best to try and get this country back on track, to help the people who need to be sure they can find a good job, that they can have a secure retirement, that their child will get the kind of education their child needs. These are things people worry about, and I know how to make those things happen. And that's why I'm in the race governor.

Let me ask you a lightning round of in or out of touch questions.


WALLACE: Do you go to the grocery store?


WALLACE: You act like I'm an idiot asking that question.

A. ROMNEY: I will tell you something, when I was really, really sick -- and this is where I think people need to understand where Mitt comes -- I was unable to do anything that -- in a normal life. I couldn't go to the grocery store. I couldn't cook dinner or anything. This was during the time Mitt was running the Olympics and he was, you know, putting in long hours. He would come home -- on this way home, he would stop at the grocery store. He was making dinner.

He was doing all of those things and saying, "Ann, it's OK. You just -- you're fine. Don't worry about these things, and that's not why I love you, because you go to the store and you make dinner. I love you because I love you, not what you do."

WALLACE: Mrs. Romney, I notice that there's no staff here, no cooks, no maids.


WALLACE: Why not?

A. ROMNEY: You know, Mitt and I are pretty independent. That's how we like it. We like to do our own things. And I think Mitt ironed his own shirt this morning. I noticed he was doing the laundry last night.

WALLACE: I also hear from my sources that you have an unhealthy attraction to Costco.

A. ROMNEY: Oh, we both like Costco.


A. ROMNEY: I love Costco.


A. ROMNEY: It's great. Are you kidding? Have you ever been to it?

WALLACE: Yeah, I've been to a Costco.

A. ROMNEY: I love Costco.

WALLACE: I'm in touch. What are you talking about?


M. ROMNEY: It's got great produce.

A. ROMNEY: I know how to shop Costco. You go in the door. Don't -- don't -- I don't want everyone to learn this trick.


You go in the door, you take a sharp right, and you go way down to the back of the store and just go -- just shop the outside of aisles, boom, boom, boom.

M. ROMNEY: She also got me one of these three-packs of shirts the other day from Costco. And they're...

A. ROMNEY: Yeah.

M. ROMNEY: They're very nice shirts.

A. ROMNEY: The Kirkland shirts. He's -- he's wearing them all the time now. I'm like, hey, that's -- that looks -- that shirt looks pretty good. I got them -- I got them at Costco.

WALLACE: What are the Romney Olympics?


M. ROMNEY: In the summertime, the boys and daughters-in-law and I get together. There's a swimming component and then a running component and a biking component.

A. ROMNEY: Now, that's deteriorated over time.

A. ROMNEY: I know it's deteriorated. That was for a while. We didn't do that this year. This year we went...


A. ROMNEY: It was when Mitt started getting beaten by the daughters-in-law...

... is when that piece...

WALLACE: Well, I was going to ask about that because I heard an ugly rumor that, when you started losing the physical competition, you started adding old-guy events like nail-hammering.


M. ROMNEY: That's right. That's exactly right. We had to find some way for me to get back into competition.

A. ROMNEY: He still comes in last. It doesn't matter.


M. ROMNEY: No, that's not true.


WALLACE (voice over): The Romneys took us outside. Mrs. Romney helped two-year-old Johnny with his shoes. The governor showed off a new trick Tag's dog Reggie just learned.

(on camera): Is this where the Romney Olympics take place?

M. ROMNEY: Right here. This -- right here is the site of the lumberjack events, the sawing and the hammering. And over there, under the little awning there is the pull-up contest. We throw the footballs at the trees. You have to hit each one of the trees to get full points

WALLACE (voice over): It looks like a summer camp with a beach volleyball court and a trampoline and a dock filled with boats. But then you see the patrol boat anchored just offshore and it reminds you this man may soon be president.

M. ROMNEY: I sure hope so. I'm planning on it. It's a critical time for the country. And the things I have learned over my life and the people that I've learned to work with, I think, are the kind of people we need to get the country on track.

WALLACE: Earlier, I asked the governor about that from a more personal perspective.

(on camera): As you sit here on the verge of becoming the Republican nominee for president, what does this woman mean to you? And what role has she played in your journey, where you are now, and where you may be soon?

M. ROMNEY: At the beginning, I just loved her. Now she's much more than just the person I love. She is also the person that I -- I really live for, and as my counselor, my friend, my inspiration, but also the person I love. And if I -- if there's anything -- if I have any time available and people say what would you like to do, the thing I'd like to do is to be with Ann and do something together.

WALLACE: Not a bad guy, is he?

A. ROMNEY: That's pretty good.



WALLACE: The Romneys have been taking their grandchildren on the campaign trail with them. A couple of months ago, four-year-old Nate asked, "Papa, have you beaten Barack Obama yet?"

The governor had to tell his grandson, "Not yet."

Up next, our Sunday group joins us here in the Fox News skybox to talk about the weather and what Mitt Romney needs to do in Tampa.



ROMNEY: This is a president who says one thing and can't deliver. It's finally time to get a president who can do what he actually says he'll do.




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