Glenn Beck Interview with Governor Mitt Romney
DECEMBER 19, 2007
GLENN BECK PROGRAM
GLENN: It's our last broadcast before the holiday and I'm pleased to be joined with Governor Mitt Romney. Hello, Mitt, how are you, sir?
GOVERNOR ROMNEY: I'm terrific, Glenn, good to be with you.
GLENN: You know, I told you this in person. I went down to your speech and saw you in Texas give the speech on faith but it's one of the best speeches I've ever heard and it was just, it was amazing and I've heard this from several people and this is the way I feel. It was a turning point for me in my support for you. I was amazed. I was amazed. Great speech.
GOVERNOR ROMNEY: Well, you're very kind. I thought it was an important topic to talk about because this is a country which has been built upon a foundation of faith and I know there are some who want to remove that foundation and I'm not one of them.
GLENN: I want to talk to you a little bit about the Huckabee surge here because I don't understand it. I like Governor Huckabee. He's a nice man, he's a kind man. However I, you know, I've got my differences with him. I was with him, what, a week ago in the airport and we spent about 25 minutes together and we had a very frank conversation about some of the things that he has said in a whisper campaign and he said to me that he felt you were picking on him and he felt that he was under attack by you on some of the ads that you're running now where you're pointing out the differences. He thought that was just an attack on him. Do you have any comment on some of the ads that you're running?
GOVERNOR ROMNEY: Well, actually what I described, I don't think he's disagreed with them at all, is what his positions are on key issues, and I think, you know, when you have a surge, you earn the opportunity for people to take a look at your record and your positions, and I've not attacked him personally. I actually began the ads by talking about our places of agreement and, you know, Mike Huckabee's a friend, but there are places where we disagree. He granted 1,033 pardons and commutations including 12 for convicted murderers. I granted no pardons or commutations. That's a difference. Now, he calls that an attack on him. I just call it the truth of his record. And given the fact he granted those pardons, he can explain why and if people agree with him, they can vote for him. If they think, no, I don't want someone who would grant 1,033 pardons in his term as governor, then they can vote for me. But it's certainly not an attack to compare and contrast issues and records. Now, you will see attacks if people go after individuals on a personal basis and impugn their character or their integrity or try and suggest that they are a bad person. That has happened in campaigns but at this stage in my campaign, all we're showing is places of difference on key issues and frankly issues matter and Governor Huckabee has merited the chance to be inspected closely on where he stands on issues.
GLENN: Let me ask you this question because this is my problem with Mike Huckabee is I think -- and God love him, but I think that sometimes people get so close to the gospel that they misunderstand nowhere in the gospel does Jesus say, "You know, and the Government should go heal that person." It's always the individual. And I think Mike Huckabee got lost on the pardons because of compassion and trying to be more Christ-like, et cetera, et cetera, but it doesn't mean that you get forgetful on what people have done in their past. People can change but there's still punishment and on our side learn, you know, from the lessons that this person has showed us in the past. But it's the same kind of concern, quite honestly, Mitt, that I have about you. You are a very compassionate guy and you are very close. You live your faith. However, sometimes when people do that they think, well, maybe I should have government kind of help out a little bit more. Can you reassure anybody that you're not a Rockefeller Republican, that you don't believe -- that you believe compassion starts at home and not in Washington, D.C.?
GOVERNOR ROMNEY: Well, of course, we're a compassionate people and we do compassionate things around the world but at the same time the responsibility of our nation rests with the individual and with the family. And if you think about what it is that's made us the nation that we are, it is the personal responsibility and the individual incentives which are associated with our free enterprise system and the freedoms we enjoy. Now, does that mean that government has no role? Of course not. Government does have a role. But you can see what happens to a major part of our economy when the government starts playing too big of a role and that's happened in healthcare.
With the creep of growing Medicaid expansions and with Medicare taking this large portion of the healthcare system, you find that government is beginning to really drive the whole healthcare system. And I look at healthcare and say we've got to get government out of healthcare and let personal responsibility once again reign and let the free market do the work that it's always done and the rest of our economy. So you look at my record, you'll see a guy who believes in keeping government small.
Give you an example. There were fewer state workers in Massachusetts after I left as governor than when I came in. And by the way, I increased the number of state police dramatically, but the other workers, I significantly reduced and overall I reduced the number of workers. In Governor Huckabee's case, he added thousands upon thousands of new state workers. He took spending from $6.7 billion to over $16 billion. So, you know, very different records, very different approach and you can see where I stand if you look at my record.
GLENN: Talk to me a little bit about the bunker mentality that -- because I don't even know what it means. I'm looking at Huckabee's statement.
Stu, do you have that statement from him? Do you have that handy? He made some statement, you know, that the United States needs the rest of the world to know that we're not enemies, we're in it together and the arrogant bunker mentality of this administration. I mean, I don't even know what that means. What is that policy?
GOVERNOR ROMNEY: I think that kind of an attack on the President -- and that is a personal attack. . . you see, there's the difference between somebody who's talking about differences on issues, and we can argue about whether or not the President was effective in the way he managed the war, and I think he made a number of errors, but you go from talking about issues and policy to making personal attacks when you call someone arrogant and bunker mentality. And that's where I think Governor Huckabee made another error and owes the President an apology. The suggestion that somehow our challenges in Iraq are due to a President that's arrogant with a bunker mentality, that's just simply plain and wrong. This President has worked tirelessly to keep us safe and he's done so and he's done his best for America. Has he made mistakes? Absolutely. Will anyone make mistakes? Yeah, that's true as well. But to accuse the President of an arrogant bunker mentality is simply wrong. He has been open to -- well, for instance, General Petraeus' entirely new perspective of taking the troop surge, he fought for that against almost everybody. Arguing was the wrong way to go on the Democratic side. They were claiming that the war had been lost, and the President's right. The surge is working.
GLENN: Give me your thought on Petraeus not being Time magazine's man of the year but instead Vladimir Putin.
GOVERNOR ROMNEY: Oh, you are kidding. Did they put Vladimir Putin on the cover?
GLENN: Yeah, Time magazine.
GOVERNOR ROMNEY: That really, that's disgusting. I'm absolutely -- I mean, are you -- I mean, I haven't seen Time. Are you serious?
GLENN: No, I'm serious. It is Vladimir Putin, Time magazine man of the year. A guy who, you know, with all of the KGB stuff in the past, Time magazine says has transformed the country and congratulations. Time magazine man of the year, Vladimir Putin.
GOVERNOR ROMNEY: Well, you know, he imprisoned his political opponents. There have been a number of highly suspicious murders. He has squelched public dissent and free press. And to suggest that someone like that is the man of the year is really disgusting. I'm just appalled. Clearly General Petraeus is the person or one of a few people who would certainly merit that designation and I know Time magazine makes a distinction. They say, well, people who had an impact, whether it's good or bad, is the man of the year. I think that's a --
GLENN: No, no, hang on.
GOVERNOR ROMNEY: -- a false --
GLENN: Before you go too far down this road -- wait a minute. Before you go down this road, this is the quote why he's the man of the year, "For bringing stability and renewed... what was it, impact? Status. Renewed status to his country. That's why.
GOVERNOR ROMNEY: Isn't that something. So a good dictator -- I guess Raul Castro will get it next. A good dictator that imprisons or murders political and media opponents and therefore brings stability, I mean, there's nothing like the stability that martial law provides or dictatorship provides. I find it a truly appalling designation.
GLENN: And the stability that he's bringing to the Middle East with the transfer of this last few days of nuclear technology to Iran.
GOVERNOR ROMNEY: Yeah. I mean, he's once again supplying nuclear material to the Bushehr power plant and it's another example of Russia trying to destabilize the world, destabilize the Middle East. It does tell you something about Time magazine. I'm really -- I must admit I'm really disappointed. That's a real shock.
GLENN: I was --
GOVERNOR ROMNEY: Our mainstream media I think has just showed its hand.
GLENN: We've talked off the ear a bit about the economy last time you did the TV show, I asked you to spend a couple of minutes and talk about the economy and I think it is now starting to show. I've been saying this for a while, "Guys, we cannot live like this; we are in real trouble here with out-of-control spending and people who just don't care. They will make money any way they can and dopes in the country that will just look and take any loan because they can pay it today; don't worry about tomorrow." We're in real trouble. It's starting to show its ugly face and yet yesterday it was passed -- a $3 trillion budget was passed. $11,000 earmarks. The President signs it. $700 million for one bike path and yet they defunded the war and defunded the border fence.
President Romney, you would do what?
GOVERNOR ROMNEY: Well, this is an opportunity for veto and, of course, it's an opportunity for letting congress know exactly what would be vetoed beforehand and working closely enough with people across the aisle to make sure that they understand what's going to be vetoed and then taking that to the American people beforehand. So they can say whether they agree or they disagree with the President and they can communicate with their legislative leadership, what they think about the issue and then those senators or congressmen who vote against the President, recognize that they're going to be taking some slings and arrows back home. You've got to make sure that the people stand with you on an issue like this, get their support and that support will cause congress to feel a lot of heat and if they feel the heat, they will see the light. We're going to have to make this a public debate.
GLENN: I don't know a single person, I don't know a soul, Republican or Democrat, that would say, oh, $700 million bike path? That sounds like a smart move. I mean, I don't know a soul that would be for this. The American people are smarter than this. They know what these earmarks are about. So what are we missing?
GOVERNOR ROMNEY: You know, it's going to take a real campaign to the public and to smoke people out one by one and to have the President say this is unacceptable, this is unacceptable, here's why I'm vetoing it. You know, it's going to take a real effort to stop what is a long practice of congress, Republican and Democrat alike to keep on getting pork projects for their home district and then using that as an excuse to get reelected. We're going to have to have people around this country say I will not participate in that, I'm going to vote somebody out who voted for this kind of pork barrel spending.
GLENN: I know we're out of time. Do I have two minutes with you?
GOVERNOR ROMNEY: Sure.
GLENN: I want to play this ad. Do you have that, Dan? I want to play this ad. This is one of the more amazing ads I have seen. Go ahead and play the Romney ad, please, Dan. Does he have it?
STU: Yes, hold on.
VOICE: My daughter disappeared in New York City for three days. No one could find her. My business manager took charge. He closed the company and brought almost all of our employees to New York. He said, I don't care how long it takes, we're going to find her. He set up a command center and searched through the night. The man who helped save my daughter was Mitt Romney. Mitt's done a lot of things that people say are nearly impossible but for me the most important thing he's ever done is to help save my daughter.
VOICE: I'm Mitt Romney and I approved this message.
GLENN: You closed your business and moved all your employees down -- sent all of your employees down to do a search for this employee's daughter here in New York?
GOVERNOR ROMNEY: Well, you would do the same thing, Glenn. You know, one of my friends and a colleague in my firm came to me and mentioned that his daughter had been missing for a few days in New York City and the police had been unable to find her and, of course, he was very, very concerned and I closed our firm and asked all of our people to come to New York and we set up a command center, we organized the city in a grid. We also got our suppliers in New York, our law firm, our printing firm and a drugstore chain that we happened to have an investment in at the time and have them work together with us to search the city, to print flyers, to put them in people's shopping bags with pictures of the young woman and we were fortunate that we got a lot of media coverage by virtue of all of us coming down there.
GLENN: How long did this last?
GOVERNOR ROMNEY: Well, it didn't last terribly long. It was about, probably about 24 hours when we got a call from someone saying, is there a reward. And then the person hung up. And we were tracing calls and we sent police to the home and we were able to find her there.
GLENN: Holy cow.
GOVERNOR ROMNEY: So we're -- you know, we're very fortunate that we were able to have such an impact and the media was able to play such an important role in getting that message across, 800 numbers, reward requests, so forth. And we were able to find her.
GLENN: Well, I'm just trying to think of the mainstream media question to ask you after that. Maybe did you make him take vacation days for those days that he went down and looked for his daughter? I mean, I guess -- I don't know how to spin that into a bad question, but somebody will find a way.
Mitt, thank you very much.
GOVERNOR ROMNEY: Hey, thanks, Glenn, good to be with you.
GLENN: Merry Christmas, sir.
GOVERNOR ROMNEY: Merry Christmas to you. Bye-bye.
And so I don't get in trouble for posting the interview in its entirety, here are the books that Glenn has out on the market right now. Great books, really, yes . . . they're on my wish list. Not just a shameless plug to keep my butt out of hot water.