Skip to comments.Mitt Romney Interview Transcript Published (Captain's Quarters Blog)
Posted on 06/04/2007 3:42:35 PM PDT by Reaganesque
The transcript from my one-on-one interview with Mitt Romney is now available at Heading Right, and I think that CQ readers and CQ Radio listeners will find it very revealing. As I noted when I first broadcast the interview, I wanted to press Romney on foreign policy, a topic that has not received much attention so far in this campaign other than the war on terror. Before we got to that, though, I asked the Governor about immigration. He had talked about his opposition to the current compromise under consideration in the Senate based on the Z-visa plan, and I asked him to elaborate on how he would change that part of the legislation:
EM: ... Now, your main problem in this bill as you explained in the interviews today, has been the Z provisions which is something that kicks in, its supposed to kick in after the triggers but there is a temporary status that kicks in immediately upon passage of the bill. And you were talking about how we can amend the Z visas possibly to reflect what you feel are the priorities of trimming illegal immigration. You were saying something about the Z visas temporary. Could you explain more about how you would see a temporary Z visa program and what would be the cut off at that point?
GR: Well, Im not proposing legislation; Im not drafting a piece of legislation. There are many pieces of legislation floating around Washington. My principle is pretty straightforward, which is dont give the people who here illegally the right to stay here indefinitely in a way that puts them ahead in the line of the people who are applying for that right. And a, one way to do that of course is to say to all people who are here illegally, sign up, for a, come into the post office sign up, or state department or where ever you might be; sign up so that we know who you are and get you on a pathway to, if you will, a realistic attrition program so that you can return home, ultimately if you want to apply for citizenship or apply for permanent residency, you will be able to do so. I dont think people should be barred from applying for citizenship or permanent residency if they have been here illegally but I dont think they should have any advantage in being given that status by virtue of having coming here illegally.
After that, I concentrated on foreign-policy questions. I expected Romney to have answers ready for questions about the Middle East, but was surprised at the depth of information he could recall extemporaneously on other areas, including Latin America and trade with China. For instance, when I asked him about the idea for a League of Democracies, he insisted that he had been first with the notion:
EM: Its been proposed that we try to quarterback the creation of a league of democracies or a league of western nations that, apparently, would be built on a NATO model or something similar to that. Would you think that would be a good model to follow? Do you think it would be something you would want to replace the UN with or is it something you could use in a parallel, if you would be interested in doing that, that you would use it in a parallel fashion to the UN?
GR: Well, thats something I first proposed under a different name, which is a Partnership for Progress and Prosperity, which is a partnership of civilized nations as well as moderate Islamic states that would come together to help establish good public schools in Islamic states which are threatened by violent jihad, good public schools that are not radical schools, the rule of law in those nations, agriculture and economic policies that are modern and allow these nations to compete in a global basis. Different candidates have picked up on the idea, given it different names, but were getting to bring together like minded nations that want to support a movement towards democracy and thats something which I think is a high priority for this nation.
And on Hugo Chavez:
Hugo Chavezs progress and his affiliation is very troubling and there are a number of things that I think we need to do. (1) is to reach out diplomatically to leaders of the nations in Latin America; (2) is to assure that our financial support is going is to those nations that are closest to us in supportive of our policies (3)is to market to people of the hemisphere in which we live as to the principles of democracy and free enterprise and to make sure that the reality of Americas heart and goodness which they understand and appreciate (4) I think we should extend our economic ties with nations of Latin America; the President has worked out free trade agreements, trade promotion authority agreements, with a number of nations, with Panama, with Nicaragua, excuse me, with Panama, with Peru and Columbia and in those cases among others, I believe we should be, Congress should be the giving final sign offs so were able to have better economic ties, better economic ties, I think, create better understanding our between nations.
I'd say this is quite impressive. Read the whole transcript, and the image of Romney as a slick, tanned, empty suit dissipates rapidly. Whether you support him or not, he is a solid candidate worthy of a long look.
If Governor Romney has proposed this independently, I can’t find a link to it. It’s not on his campaign website and all the searches I do turn up CQ (this article) or the UK programme.
Do you have a link to this proposal? It sounds very interesting, “good public schools in Islamic states which are threatened by violent jihad, good public schools that are not radical schools, the rule of law in those nations, agriculture and economic policies that are modern and allow these nations to compete in a global basis.”
I still want someone to press him on Second Amendment issues. I want a firm commitment to veto AWB2 when it comes to the Oval Office. I want a firm commitment to veto any other gun grabber bill that comes to the Oval Office. Until I get a warm fuzzy about vigorously supporting the Second Amendment, I’m not giving Romney a second look.
The guy is definitely not an empty suit. Sure he’s pretty on the outside, but there’s enough intellectual depth to run circles around any of the Democrats and most of the Republicans. If there’s something he doesn’t know, he educates himself rather than just relying on his advisors to do it for him. I think it’s a by-product of the tried and true “Bain Way” of doing things that he learned long ago.
The "Partnership for Progress and Prosperity" was first discussed in Governor Mitt Romney's remarks at the George Bush Presidential Library Center on April 10, 2007.
It's among a strategy of Four Changes Needed To Meet A New Generation Of Global Challenges. The four bullet points are given below with the complete excerpt of the speech pertaining to alliances and partnerships which include the Partnership for Progress and Prosperity:
First, We Need A Stronger Military. We Must Increase The Size Of Our Military By 100,000 Troops.Second, America Must Become Energy Independent.
We Need To Dedicate At Least Four Percent Of Our Gross Domestic Product To Defense, Making Up For Critical Gaps In Our Military Modernization, Equipment, Personnel And Health Care Efforts (Additional $30 Billion To $40 Billion Annually For Defense).
Investing In Our Military, We Need To Ensure Funds Are Used To Address Critical Needs And Support The Men And Women Of Our Armed Forces, Rather Than Political Or Contractor Interests.
Third, We Must Transform And Strengthen Our Civilian International Efforts To Meet A New Generation Of Challenges.
Fourth, We Need To Strengthen Old Partnerships And Alliances, And Inaugurate A New One, To Address The Threat Of Jihadism.[...]
I don't need to tell you that the failures of the UN are simply astonishing. Consider the infamous work of the UN Human Rights Council.
The infamy of the UN has made a number of people understandably cynical when it comes to multinational and multilateral institutions. Some of us will be tempted to retreat to American isolation. Others will favor American unilateralism. But America's strength is amplified when it is combined with the strength of other nations. Whether diplomatic, military, or economic, America is stronger when we have friends standing with us.
That may be even more true tomorrow than it is today. The world will look quite different in the future than it has in the past.
The Middle East is facing a demographic crisis. Today, over half the region is under 22 years old. But the combined GDP of all Arab nations, including oil, is less than that of Spain. With the growing populations and lack of jobs, the ground for radical Islam will be increasingly fertile.
I agree with former Prime Minister Aznar of Spain that we should build on the NATO alliance to defeat radical Jihad. He has called for greater coordination in military, homeland security, and non-proliferation efforts. He is right. We should look to expand and deepen this and other alliances.
Today, I want to take his recommendation a step further. As one of my first acts as President, I would call for a Summit of Nations. In addition to the United States, the convening countries would include moderate Islamic states and other leading developed nations. The objective of the Summit would be to create a worldwide strategy to support Muslim nations and peoples, in their effort to defeat radical, violent Jihad.
I would envision that the Summit would lead to the creation of a Partnership for Prosperity and Progress. This Partnership would assemble the resources of all developed nations to work to assure that threatened Islamic states had public schools, not Wahhabi madrassas, micro credit and banking, the rule of law, human rights, basic healthcare, and competitive economic policies. The resources would be drawn from public and private institutions, and from volunteers and NGOs. And policies would favor expansion of free trade and investment.
Merely closing our eyes and hoping that radical Jihad will go away is not an acceptable answer. And American military action cannot change the hearts and minds of hundreds of millions of Muslims. Only Muslims will be able to defeat the violent radicals. But we can help them. And we must help them. For the consequences - for America and for all nations - of a radicalized Islamic world, possessing nuclear weapons, are unthinkable.
Maybe he should pick a program name that the UK has not already chosen? That’s where most of the hits are.
I do like his plans to make radical Islam go away by changing their society from the inside out, though. I hope his intentions are welcomed by the Islamic countries he targets.
Feb 18 Steffi transcript in which Romney supports banning certain classes of firearms [editorial comments are mine]:
Stephanopoulos: Lets talk about guns. You were supportive of the Brady bill, the handgun waiting period, in the past. You signed an assault weapon ban into law and you said, in the past, I dont line up with the NRA.
Mitt Romney: Well, on that issue.
Stephanopoulos: Now youre a member of the NRA.
Mitt Romney: Yes, and I know the NRA does not support an assault weapon ban. So I dont line up on that particular issue with the NRA, either does President Bush. He likewise says he supported an assault weapon ban.
Today we dont have the Brady bill because we have instantaneous background checks. Thats no longer a operative or needed measure. [so please dont diss me for supporting it...]
But Im a strong proponent of Second Amendment rights. I believe people, under our Constitution, have the right to bear arms. [Just not assault weapons, whatever they are]
We have a gun in one of our homes. Its not owned by me, its owned by my son, but Ive always considered it sort of mine. [which is why I said I was a gun owner a month or so ago, but Im really not]
Stephanopoulos: When did you join the NRA?
Mitt Romney: Within the last year and I signed up for a lifelong membership. I think theyre doing good things and I believe in supporting the right to bear arms. [except assault weapons, whatever they are, and “high capacity feeding devices”]
Ive been a hunter all my life, not frequently, but as a boy, when I worked on a ranch in Idaho, we used to go out shooting rabbits, because they were eating all the barley, and I got pretty good with a single shot .22 rifle, and been quail hunting more recently. [But now I claim not to be good with a single-shot. It took the power and deadliness of a semi-auto to get those rabbits!]
So Im a hunter and believe in Second Amendment rights, but I also believe that assault weapons are not needed in the public population. [So the Second Amendment does not include what I define as Assault Weapons, in MY constitution].
So that’s pretty clear. He does not want you to own whatever is currently defined as an Assault Weapon (after all, hunters never use semi-autos, right?). I need to hear him speak about Intermediate Sniper Rifles, Saturday Night Specials, Pocket Rockets, Cop Killer Bullets- it would be very interesting.
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