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ABC "This Week with George Stephanopoulos" - Transcript


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And, Governor McDonnell, let me begin with you. You heard Jon Karl on the weather right there. How concerned are you that this is going to really disrupt the convention?

MCDONNELL: Well, obviously these unplanned events are things that just have to be dealt with. And we're just going to have to be more productive. We'll have to do in three days what the Democrats do in four. It's a concern for the reasons that you mentioned at the top of the show, George, competing with a major weather event. But I think that the independent voters are going to start tuning in now, are going to want to see Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan speak. So I think we'll still get a fair amount of attention, and the message will be good.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You also got a big surprise this morning from another independent, the former Republican governor of Florida, Charlie Crist, in the Tampa Bay Times this morning endorsing President Obama for reelection. He had some kind words for President Obama, but also some tough words for the Republican Party. I want to read some of them right now. He says, "an element of their party has pitched so far to the extreme right on issues important to women, immigrants, seniors and students that they've proven incapable of governing for the people. Look no further than the inclusion of the Akin amendment in the Republican Party platform, which bans abortion even for rape victims." Of course, he's referring to Congressman Todd Akin, your Senate candidate from Missouri right now.

You're the chair of the Platform Committee, you've called it the heart and soul of the Republican Party. So how do you respond to former Governor Crist?

MCDONNELL: I would say that Governor Crist's endorsement adds one more vote in Florida, and that's it. He is wrong on every other point. I don't think it's any surprise that the Republican Party is the party that embraces the dignity and sanctity of life. We're a pro-life party. The Democrats are pro-choice. But I'll tell you, that's so far field. He's wrong on the platform.

And really, what matters in this race, George, as everybody knows, is how we're going to get the greatest country on earth back to work and out of debt. And you look at Mitt Romney's record on reducing unemployment in Massachusetts. President Obama has increased it. Getting a budget balanced. The president can't even get a budget passed. And the downgrading of the U.S. credit rating under President Obama's watch. The credit rating of Massachusetts went up.

So on the things that really matter to voters, George, I think the records are stark, and I think that's why independent voters have a ten-point margin in favor of Mitt Romney right now.

STEPHANOPOULOS: I want to get Mayor Villaraigosa to respond, but first you said something, you said he was wrong on the Republican platform. And I'm not sure how he is wrong. Let's put up the platform right now. It talks about asserting the sanctity of human life, affirming that the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed. We support a human life amendment to the Constitution, endorse legislation to make clear that the 14th Amendment's protections apply to unborn children. There is no exception there in the abortion plank for rape. Even though I know that's Governor's Romney's position, did he try to include that in the platform, and why are there no exceptions in the platform?

MCDONNELL: George, you're just reading it wrong. That's been there for 30 years. There are multiple human life amendments that were introduced 20, 30 years ago. Some of them had exceptions, some of them didn't.

The real point is, we are affirming that we're a pro-life party. The details certainly are left to Congress and ultimately to the states and the people on how they ratify such an amendment, or more importantly, what they do at the state level.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So is the party my for a rape exception or not?

MCDONNELL: The party didn't make any judgment on that. It's a general proposition to say we support human life. The rest of those details are up to the states and the people respectively, George, and that's simply not covered. It's something up to Congress and the states. We have laws in Virginia that have some of those exceptions. But at this point, with the U.S. Supreme Court having its say, these are not issues that are even -- even material at this point. Because, the issues are whether or not we have, like a ban on partial birth abortion. The president opposes that. Mitt Romney supports it. It's whether we have a born alive act. The president is opposed to that. Mitt Romney supports it.

So those are the issues, the policy issues, George, at this point that are really relevant. And honestly, here is the last thing. This is one more attempt by the Obama administration to take the focus off jobs, the economy, taxes, spending, debt and energy. That's what the people of America care about.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Lot to respond to, Mayor. Take a crack.

VILLARAIGOSA: First of all, let me say that our hearts and prayers are with the people of Tampa and Florida, and the delegates at the convention, and we hope that the storm isn't going to be as difficult as it looks right now.

MCDONNELL: Well, that's just not correct. George, if we had -- if I had a record like President Obama -- listen, he's a good man, he is a good family man, he's tried hard -- but his policies have just flat failed the American people, especially the middle class. 42 months in a row over 8 percent unemployment. A crushing $16 trillion debt that's unsustainable. $5 trillion increase over the last three years. Gas prices doubling, the largest number -- the smallest number of new businesses in 30 years.

This is the record, and it's just a record of those policies not working. And so that's why they want to talk about Bain Capital and abortion and tax returns.

I think that Mitt Romney's whole message now that you hear during the convention is how do we raise up the middle class? He's laid out a significant plan on deficit reduction, on trade, on skills development, on workforce training. These are the things that Americans care about, that they talk to their kids about at the table, and that's why I think he's going to have more appeal to that independent voter. Specific solutions. Results oriented conservative. The rhetoric of hope and change just didn't work for America, George, and that's why I think Mitt Romney will be the next president.


STEPHANOPOULOS: Governor McDonnell, you get the last word?

MCDONNELL: Well, I think it's the vision of Mitt Romney versus the record of Barack Obama, and facts just are stubborn things. And the middle class is hurting. We're in the greatest debt that we have ever been in this country. People aren't getting back to work. 23 million people, George, unemployed or underemployed. They feel it. They know it. They're hurting as families. And I think they want results and not rhetoric. That's the message of the Mitt Romney campaign. That's what you're going to hear this week in Tampa.


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