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Governor Mitt Romney on Super Tuesday strategy, and why he’s the only one who can beat Barack Obama

Thursday, January 31, 2008

HH: Able to catch up with Mitt Romney on the campaign trail. Governor, welcome back, and do you sense that the message that this is now a two person race on the Republican side is getting through, Governor?

MR: Yeah, I do, Hugh. I think people recognize it’s either McCain or Romney at this point. I’m looking for conservatives to stand up and say no way are we taking a left turn in the Republican Party.

HH: Where are you campaigning between now and Super Tuesday, Governor? Where are you putting your effort?

MR: Let’s see, I think there are eleven states that I’m going to be going to, ten or eleven. California, of course, is the big one, and that’s why we’re here today, and we were here yesterday, of course. I’m going to Colorado tomorrow, and Montana, Tennessee, Illinois, New York, of course, Massachusetts, and a few others.

HH: A lot of people are saying New York is beyond reach because of Rudy’s endorsement. What gives with your analysis there?

MR: You know, I think New York is a proportional state, meaning you get delegates based on your proportion there. And so you know, it may well be that somebody else gets the majority, but there are still a lot of delegates, and I want as many as I can get.

HH: Tell us about, Governor, after the debate last night, and you sat back in the Green Room, do you think you got the key differences between you and John McCain articulated?

MR: Yeah, you know, I do think so. I think twice I was able to go through the fact that he’s the guy who voted against ANWR, he voted against the Bush tax cuts, he was for McCain-Feingold, which hit the 1st Amendment and hurt our party. He was the guy who was for McCain-Kennedy, the amnesty bill for illegals. He’s for McCain-Lieberman, which puts $.50 cents a gallon burden on our gasoline buyers. And you know, that came out time and again, and I think I also pointed out that he’s been employing the same kind of dirty tricks that Ronald Reagan told us not to be part of. So yeah, I think people, if they wanted to hear it, heard it.

HH: You didn’t get an apology out of him for the timetables low blow, Governor, at least, that’s what many people called it, a low blow, and I agree with him. Does it matter that he persisted in that attack?

MR: You know, I think it shows a lot about him. And in some respects, I think people recognize how we’re going to deal with other nations in the world, how we’re going to establish friendships with other nations if a Republican is going to take the kind of course he did with me, and not admit when he is wrong. I mean, it’s actually quite laughable that he can sit there and say what he thinks my position is, and when I say John, that’s not my position, and he says oh yes it is, it’s like this is kind of silly (laughing). I mean, I obviously know my position, and he obviously doesn’t. But you know, he can be a pretty stubborn guy when it comes to things, even when he’s wrong.

HH: Now also, a lot of analysis is Obama is surging. He raised $33 million dollars in January, Governor Romney. Can you beat Obama?

MR: You know, I think I’m the only guy on the Republican side that can beat Obama. I can’t imagine a debate where Obama is speaking about the future, and speaking poetically with energy and passion about where America can go, and Senator McCain is a creature of the past, he’s a creature of Washington. How he could possibly sell a message of change would be beyond me. I think I’m the only guy that’s got a shot of doing that, and I could do it because I believe in change, I believe in making America’s future brighter. I just have a different pathway than Obama does, and I believe the American people do not want to follow the pathway of Europe. I think they do want to follow the pathway on having a strong economy that leads the world, with great schools, great health care, low taxes, small government. I think that wins.

HH: Last night, you got into it about global warming and climate change. First, Senator McCain said it’s our fault, and discounted the possibility we’re just a contributor, as opposed to the only contributor, and then you talked about McCain-Lieberman, in terms of what it does to business. We know about the tack. Can you expand on that, Governor?

MR: Well, yeah. Here’s something which I’m afraid people who don’t every have, like Senator McCain, who doesn’t have experience in the free economy understands, which is…in the private economy, rather, and that is if you put huge, new costs on energy in this country, you might think well, that’s great, that’s going to make people use less energy. But the big users, the big industrial users, the big companies that use a lot of energy, if they get a big, high cost here, they’ll simply move their facilities over time to places like China where there is no cost. And so they’ll keep producing, they’ll keep putting as much greenhouse gas out there as they were here, even more pollutants, because they use just dirty, high-sulfur coal over there, you end up costing the American consumer more money, and you don’t help the environment. And that’s why when you’re dealing with global warming, and caps and trading programs, you’ve got to do it globally. If you do it just on a national basis, you end up hurting yourself, and not helping the global environment.

HH: 45 seconds, Governor, I think my notes say that New York is winner take all, so we might be a little bit confused on that.

MR: I may be off on that. We’ll take a look.

HH: But my question is, does this race end on Tuesday if you’re down in delegates?

MR: Oh, no. This…I’m not planning on being down in delegates. But if that’s the case, of course, we’ll look at what the circumstances are, which states are coming up. But you know, I’m going to do what’s necessary to win this nomination.

HH: Governor Mitt Romney, a pleasure, thank you, sir.

End of interview.

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