Mitt Romney was my guest minutes ago and I read him Charles M. Blow’s tweet from last night, and followed with the question about the use of anti-Mormon bigotry against him in the fall if he is the nominee. He believes any such tactics would backfire. The transcript will be posted here later tonight.
HH: Joined now by former Massachusetts Governor, Mitt Romney. Governor, welcome back, always a pleasure to talk to you.
MR: Thanks, great to be with you, Hugh.
HH: Governor, I’ve got to start with something that’s mildly distasteful. Last night during the debate, New York Times columnist, Charles Blow, tweeted the following: Let me just tell you this, Mitt “Muddle-Mouth”, I’m a single parent, my kids are amazing, stick that in your magic underwear. Now I know you’re not surprised by hostility from the New York Times, and I know you’re not surprised by anti-Mormon bigotry. But are you surprised by anti-Mormon bigotry in a New York Times columnist’s tweets?
MR: That is a little surprising, I must admit. I guess we’re finding out for the first time that the media is somewhat biased.
HH: (laughing) But do you expect, a lot of people worry that if you’re the nominee, and increasingly, it looks like you will be, that the Obama campaign, operating with the mainstream media, will unleash a lot of anti-LDS stuff on you? How are you preparing for that, Governor? [# More #]
MR: You know, I don’t think that will be particularly helpful for their cause. The truth of the matter is they’ve got a lot of ways to attack our nominee. They’re going to make their attacks on a personal basis. They really have a hard time defending President Obama on the basis of his economic record, on the basis of his foreign policy record, particularly given the developments in Iran, as well as just mismanagement of Iraq and Afghanistan. So they’re going to make personal attacks. I think it’s going to wear very, very badly, and the American people are not going to line up for that kind of, if you will, divisiveness and demonization of fellow Americans.
HH: Now Governor, I want to talk about debates. Hopefully, they’re done on the GOP side. I don’t know if you have any more scheduled. I hope they’re finished. But generally speaking, did these debates work to alert the country to the seriousness of the problems we are facing? Or did they trivialize these problems?
MR: Well, I think it was helpful. I mean, we’ve had twenty-something odd debates, and probably four or five different forums. It was a good chance for people to get to know the different candidates, and to hear the issues, in many cases, the same issues spoken about in different ways. You know, I don’t know how many people watch them. I mean, I’ve seen the numbers. I don’t know whether they’re the same people or different people. But ultimately, we’re going to have to have debates that are watched by independents and Democrats, because those are the folks we need to pull over to our side. Republicans are going to get united behind our candidate. There’s no question. We do not want to see Barack Obama in a second term, particularly appointing liberal justices.
HH: Do you think that these gas prices, Governor Romney, are going to be a major issue through the fall? Or will they be, through the manipulation of the Strategic Oil Reserve, or something else, brought down in time to defuse the issue for the President?
MR: No, I think the gas prices will continue to be an issue. This president has faced one no-brainer decision that at least immediately comes to mind, and that was to make sure that we got oil from Canada. He flunked that decision by saying no to the Keystone Pipeline, obviously bowing to the extreme environmentalists around him. That’s a decision which is going to be very harmful to his reelection campaign. We’ve got to get as much oil and gas as we can, and his policies have made that less and less possible.
HH: Do you think as president, you can actually do things that would drive down the cost of gas that are not related to exploiting the Strategic Petroleum Reserve?
MR: Well, obviously long term, you can’t use the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to manage our gas prices. Long term, you have to develop our own sources of energy. Natural gas, I think, is going to be used increasingly in transportation. Developing our oil resources from Anwar and off-shore is going to be an important feature in moderating gasoline prices. Long term, of course, the growth of demand, given the growth of Brazil, Indonesia, India, China, that’s going to put pressure on oil prices globally. That’s something we can’t escape altogether. But we can moderate those price fluctuations, and we can certainly make sure that the dollars stay here in our country buying energy here, rather than going outside our country, in many cases, to nations that don’t like us very much.
HH: Now Governor, I want to, we’ve only got a little bit of time, but I want to talk about urgency. If you’re elected, how quickly do you see yourself laying the key pieces of legislation before the House and the Senate to repeal Obamacare, to reform Medicare, to make deep reforms in Social Security and Medicaid? How quickly will you act if you in fact win this election?
MR: Well, I intend to file a lot of legislation on Day One. I will write a lot of executive orders on Day One. My view is most presidents have a hundred days to really get their agenda underway. And from my standpoint, we will have to be ready to go as soon as the inauguration has occurred, to get legislation filed, to work with our leaders in the House and the Senate, to bring some good Democrats into the fold who care more about the country than they do about politics. That’s got to happen. This country is in a crisis mode. The deficit is killing us. Too many Americans are out of work. We’re going to have to be very aggressive to do three things. One is to get more jobs, two is to have less debt, and finally, we have to make a smaller government.
HH: Governor Mitt Romney, thanks for joining us. I know you jammed us in this afternoon. I appreciate you taking the time.
End of interview.