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Hugh Hewitt Book Club

Mitt Romney weighs in on Obama’s drive for Obamacare, and his mistreatment of Israel.

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HH: Governor Romney, welcome back. The key question, Jonathan Alter yesterday said that Obamacare is just the Massachusetts plan, why am I opposed. What’s your answer to that, Governor?

MR: Well, first of all, Lindsey Graham over the weekend said it right. He said look, that’s just a bunch of crap. He said the Massachusetts plan has some similarities. Obama picked up some of the good ideas we had, but he added a lot of things of his own that make it a very different plan. One is he raises taxes on the American people. We did not raise taxes. He cuts Medicare by a half a trillion dollars. We did not cut Medicaid or Medicare. And he puts in place price and cost controls which we did not do. So it’s a different bill, and perhaps most importantly, we solved the problem in a federalist, as opposed to a federal way. We solved our challenge at the state level. This is a state issue. The federal government should keep its nose out.

HH: Now Governor, are you appalled, as most of my callers and e-mailers are today, about this legerdemain they’re using in the House of Representatives, the so-called Slaughter solution?

MR: It is such an outrage, I think you’re going to find that the American people will rally together, if they force this thing through in the way they’re looking like they’re doing it, the American people are going to say we’re going to start a repeal movement. I think it’s going to be an issue in 2010, and probably in 2012. I don’t think there’s any way that this bill will stand in the final analysis.

HH: You’re out on a book tour for No Apologies. I want to take the temperature of public opinion vis-à-vis the crowds you’re meeting on that book tour. How much does the health care issue dominate the Q & A that you’re having?

MR: Actually, not as much as I might have imagined, given how much is happening in Washington right now. But there’s no question it’s a great big issue. And I think it’s a defining issue for the Obama administration. We’ve got millions of people out of work in this country, an economy which has not yet turned around, and he’s spent the last year and a quarter focused on his health care plan. It makes no sense at all. And this is a plan the American people have rejected in every way they know how, including electing a Republican from Massachusetts.

HH: Now when you appeared with Scott Brown on the night that Scott Brown won, did you think the health care debate had been won? Were you expecting that they would resurrect it, zombie-like, from the ashes of Massachusetts?

MR: I thought it was dead. No question about it. I thought that with the people of Massachusetts, the most Democrat-leaning state in America, to say we’re going to send Scott Brown, and he ran on the platform of saying he would be the 41st Senator, he would vote against Obamacare, I didn’t think they had the chutzpah to nonetheless go ahead with the plan, and even make it a more grandiose plan than existed before he ran for office. It’s…in my respects, they are cooking their own goose, and I think America is going to reject it in a dramatic way.

HH: Now Governor Romney, the other key difference, when Massachusetts passes a health care reform plan, they have to pay for it. They have to have the money in the bank to pay for it. This will have budget-busting implications for the United States. What are the international trade and economic effects of this sort of deficit spending ten, twenty years into the future?

MR: Well, that’s right. Our bill costs less than one and a half percent of our state’s budget, and it did not require a tax increase. So you know, our bill is working in a certain way. But the Obamacare bill, with its trillion dollar price tag, and a number which will certainly crescendo in coming years, I think sends a message around the world that America has not been willing to deal with the excessive growth of government. And that is the number one issue I’m hearing about wherever I go across the country, which is that the deficits, which normally people don’t care about, but now they’re beginning to understand it. People see that when people borrow too much, they lost homes. When businesses borrow too much, they lost their future, lost jobs. They’re seeing our country borrow too much, and I think you have a real risk that the people who loan money to America around the world are going to be concerned about the future value of the dollar, and this has the potential of putting us into a far worse economic cycle.

HH: When we do the in-depth interview on No Apologies, Governor, we’ll cover this at greater length. But I do want to ask you about the pressure being put on Israel as we speak by the Obama administration. We’ve got about 30 seconds. Your reaction?

MR: The President from his first address to the United Nations, where he chastised Israel in front of the world, and had nothing to say about Hamas launching 7,000 rockets into Israel? He was wrong in that regard. He is wrong to air our differences with our best ally in the Middle East in the public. He’s making a number of errors here. We need to be close to our friends, and stand with them in their fights for democracy.

HH: Governor Mitt Romney, author of No Apologies, thanks for coming on the air on short notice. We’ll catch up with you later about the book, Governor.

End of interview.

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