Governor Mitt Romney
GLENN: We have Governor Mitt Romney on the horn with us. Hello, governor, how are you, sir?
GOVERNOR ROMNEY: I'm terrific. Thanks, Glenn, how are you doing?
GLENN: I'm doing pretty good. I'm you know, I'm coming to a place, Mitt, I really don't know who I'm going to vote for. And I think you know, I just saw a poll the other day, what is it, 63 or 73% of Americans are just not satisfied with the choices that they have, you know, because I don't think anybody's really telling us the truth or telling us what they really believe. Convince me I should vote for John McCain.
GOVERNOR ROMNEY: Well, it shouldn't be too hard because even though it's very unlikely that every Republican is going to be 100% behind the positions of one person who's running at the head of our ticket or the same thing among Democrats, you know, you're going to find that there are some differences between the nominee and yourself in either party
GLENN: Sure, yeah.
GOVERNOR ROMNEY: But in the sitting of who's going to be our President, I don't think there's any question but that you want the kind of person who has the judgment that's been developed over a lifetime of experience and that judgment to help guide the economy, that judgment to help get us off of foreign oil, the judgment to help us deal with the Russians as they show their territorial ambitions. John McCain has that experience, Barack Obama's a lovely guy but he's ready to spend 20 years as he prepares to be President.
GLENN: Let me take this one at a time and you help me with this. The economy. The guy, John McCain, has been in public service and this is not a slam been in public service his whole life. He's never run a business, he's never been out there. He says he understands tax cuts. I learned some of this stuff from you as you were debating him. He comes out and he says now he will veto any tax increase, yet he voted against the Bush tax cuts. And when he said that he couldn't do it, he said he couldn't do it because, you know, the rich were just making "I can't stand around while the rich get richer. What is that?
GOVERNOR ROMNEY: Well, you know, you are not going to get me to say that I agree with everything John McCain has ever said because obviously we ran against each other and there are differences between us but on the issues of the day, he happens to be right. And he recognizes that this economy cannot handle a tax hike, that raising taxes will cost jobs, will cause businesses to go offshore, will hurt families and, you know, at the same time you've got Barack Obama who's saying he will raise taxes. And I know one thing. Every congress, every legislature I've seen, they really want to spend money because, you know, it helps them back in their home district. They are always in favor of spending the money and then maybe either raising debt or raising taxes. And the only way you don't raise taxes is if there's someone in the Oval Office or in the executive branch that says, no, I'm going to veto it. And you've got to have a person who will say no to taxes. John McCain will, Barack Obama won't.
GLENN: Okay. Do you remember the first time we spoke, sir, on the air? Probably not. What did you say?
GOVERNOR ROMNEY: It was a while ago.
GLENN: Yeah, yeah. I asked you, and I said to the audience beforehand, anybody who listens to me knows that I'm into pivot points. And the thing that bothered me about you before we spoke, I said the flare for me was where, where was Mitt Romney when he changed his position on being pro life. And I said, if he can't answer that question immediately and tell me what the room looked like, then I won't believe him. And then you came on and you told me what the room looked like. I believed you on your position. Now, tell me, sir, why, what did the John McCain room look like when he decided that, oh, the economy can't handle tax cuts? Why do you believe him that he's not going to flip back?
GOVERNOR ROMNEY: Well, you know, he said that he is always opposed to raising taxes. He won't always vote for a tax reduction if he doesn't think it's the right one, but he's not going to raise taxes. Pretty straightforward. That's the posture that he's given, and I think in this kind of setting given how tough the economy is, you don't want to raise taxes. But again your question is which is the better, Barack Obama or John McCain.
GOVERNOR ROMNEY: Barack Obama has said he will raise taxes. I think you can take him at his word. John McCain says he won't. John McCain is somebody who you know loves vetoing and so you're going to find in John McCain a guy who's not going to be taking more out of the pocket of American citizens.
GLENN: See, I don't buy into the lesser of two evils because
GOVERNOR ROMNEY: But you have to choose between two, though.
GLENN: No, I don't. I'll go to Ron I'll go to Bob Barr. I mean, I'm not going to put I'm not going to I don't believe in the "Throw your vote away" thing. Throwing your vote away only is a wasted vote when you vote for something you don't believe in. And I know you and I know I know how you are in your faith. You only stand and raise your hand when you believe in something because it means you have to support it. It means now, that doesn't mean you agree with everything, but, you know, you gave me the list, and I wrote it down as you gave it. So the first one is economy. The second one is oil. The man is for drilling but now he's not but he's not for drilling in the ANWR. I don't I don't understand that. I don't he's also for global warming and cap and trade, which is I believe another kind of socialist program. So you're first one was the economy. The second one was oil. I don't know where he really stands on oil, either.
GOVERNOR ROMNEY: Well, I think he will do everything that he believes is reasonably feasible to get us off of foreign oil and that for him says, look, we're going to drill offshore, number one; number two, we're going to build on a fast track a number of new nuclear power plants, and of course we're going to tap all of the renewable sources of energy we've got. Barack Obama, coming from the Democratic party, has to bow to the left wing of the party where the environmental extremists are saying no drilling for oil, no additional nuclear power plants. You know, Harry Reid won't even let a coal power plant be based in Nevada. You know, you have a very different view. Barack Obama as a state senator voted to raise taxes on oil and natural gas which, of course
GLENN: Hang on. We're you're breaking up.
GOVERNOR ROMNEY: So again you've got a very dramatic contrast.
GLENN: Hang on. Hang on. Are you on a cell phone, sir, because you're breaking up.
GOVERNOR ROMNEY: No, I'm on a land line. I'm on a land line.
GLENN: Okay. That's weird. Okay, something's going on. So I'm sorry. We lost you there for a second.
GOVERNOR ROMNEY: Oh, I'm sorry about that. Well, you know, Barack Obama has a very different view on nuke power and offshore drilling. With reference to Alaska, John McCain has indicated he will look at drilling in ANWR if it can be done environmentally reasonably and I believe it can be.
GLENN: Okay. The one thing that John McCain and do you think the polls on John McCain are turning now because of this, because, you know, I have been asking for a while, and you are the only one. I've been using you as an example lately. I went back and I looked at your platform on energy and everything else and I said the world would be a different place today if Romney were the candidate because you were talking about the things when nobody else was talking about them. You can see over the horizon, and the only time I've seen any of these people running for President lately that seems to appear as though they can see over the horizon is with John McCain with Russia. He recognized that one. He wasn't surprised by it. He nailed it the first time out. How much of a concern is Russia for you?
GOVERNOR ROMNEY: Well, Russia is a real concern for me. Glenn, I see the world being driven by the power of each nation's economy, and the strength of your military derives from the strength of your economy. We're competing on the basis of free enterprise and democracy. China is saying, we're going to take that free enterprise but we're going to be a communist, one party, no freedom land. Russia is saying we're going to compete on the basis of energy and we're going to get the energy resources of the world and hold up the world. It's a whole different strategy and they are serious. They intend to become the world superpower, to dominate the world. That has been their ambition from the beginning. Putin is still there. John McCain said, I looked in his eyes. I did not see, you know, a sympathetic soul. I saw the KGB.
GOVERNOR ROMNEY: And John McCain has been proven right and he's absolutely right to be concerned about the Russians and we're going to have to be serious in confronting their ambitions for power and for territory.
GLENN: Do you believe that there's a fairly good shot that Israel does try to take care of business in Iran and Russia stands to block?
GOVERNOR ROMNEY: You know, that's one where I don't have the kind of data I'd like to have from our military in terms of briefing as to Israel's capacity to go into Iran. I just don't think, based on the analysis that I have done with military leaders of the Iran nuclear program, that Israel has the capacity to take it out other than for a short period of time, and I'm not sure they want to take that risk for something so fleeting. But, you know, time will tell.
GLENN: If you were Barack Obama and you were looking for a vice presidential candidate, who do you think would be on your short list?
GOVERNOR ROMNEY: Well, you know, I'm not going to guess what's in his mind in this regard, but I had to listen the other night when I listened to Karl Rove say that he thinks Hillary Clinton would be his best choice. And then I saw Ralph Nader predict Hillary Clinton. So I didn't realize that Karl Rove is advising Ralph Nader. But that being said
GLENN: I think don't you think that's a position of weakness for Barack Obama?
GOVERNOR ROMNEY: Well
GLENN: At this point?
GOVERNOR ROMNEY: Well, the strange thing is you look at the other four people that are being spoken about as his potential running mates. Each of them I think has some real flaws and, of course, Hillary brings recognition I think on the part of a lot of people that she could be President. Heck, the truth of the matter is if she were the nominee, I'd feel a lot better than I do with Barack Obama because at least she has some experience that a nation like ours needs at a critical team.
GLENN: If you are Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton's your vice president, do you just use two words: Taste tester?
GOVERNOR ROMNEY: (Laughing). The real challenge I'd have with, if I were Barack Obama with Hillary would not be as much with Hillary as it would with Bill.
GLENN: The idea of Lieberman running on the ticket with John McCain?
GOVERNOR ROMNEY: You know, the last person I'm going to give advice to in this regard is going to be John McCain. I guess the only advice I'd give him is go with your instincts. John McCain's instincts have proven to serve him very well in the past. You know, I think there are a lot of there's a lot of speculation out there that is off the mark, but only John McCain knows, keeping his own
GLENN: You are the guy who turned the Salt Lake City Olympics around. How did you feel the Chinese have done on the Olympics?
GOVERNOR ROMNEY: Their games were spectacular, the opening ceremonies was above anyone's expectations. The other sporting events have been well organized and well managed. It was extremely easy to get around. They did very, very well. The one thing that really stood out, though, was that they were held in a place where there was no Bill of Rights, no freedom of assembly, no freedom of speech, no freedom of religion. And what you missed with the great crowds in Olympic venues of spectators and nonspectators coming together to celebrate. They didn't allow that because they didn't want people to assemble. They were afraid of demonstrations and free speech. It's really, it's really sad to see such a great nation but to see that they would have to stifle the freedom and expression of their own citizens.
GLENN: You know, I'm really quite dismayed that I was talking to a Chinese citizen here in the United States and she works here and everything else. And I said, you know, you ever see yourself going back? And we were talking about their one child policy and how oppressive that is and everything else. And she said, oh, yeah, because we have problems there just like you have problems here. There is a there seemingly is a disconnect now from the evil of communism, that it's just another choice. Have you sensed that at all?
GOVERNOR ROMNEY: Well, you know, I'm sure that's the case among people in our country as we look across the pond and wonder what it's like over there, but it came home powerfully to me. You watch CNN, for instance, on your hotel TV and occasionally it turns off. It blanks off because they are saying something that they don't want the people to hear. The newspapers were in some respects laughable. Now, I didn't read the Chinese, but I read the English version of the Chinese papers and it was all puff piece. There was no criticism. There was no concern about problems with the Olympics. It was it's almost like a Stepford nation, if you will, where everyone is going to be a Stepford wife and a Stepford citizen. And you want to have the kind of vitality and energy, that dissent and free speech and assembly and the rule of law bring.
GLENN: Let me just give you this. This just came out from the census bureau. Those women that were receiving public assistance, those women who are on welfare, the birthrate is three times higher. What does that tell you?
GOVERNOR ROMNEY: Well, that's pretty straightforward which is that's true throughout the world where low income individuals and low income nations have much higher birthrates than higher income nations but it also says that our welfare programs are once again beginning to become a way of life and that creates a culture of poverty that is unfair to the children and unfair to the parents and we've got to not let that become a hammock.
GLENN: I don't think I've ever heard these kinds of phone problems before. Governor Mitt Romney, I appreciate it. Let me I'm not going to ask you the question everybody's asking you because I know you're going to answer it the way you always answer it. So let me ask you in a different way. Will not you not be unnominated for the nonlead ticket vice presidential position in the not, too, distant future?
GOVERNOR ROMNEY: Glenn, I have absolutely no idea what that question said, but I can tell you I'm not expecting to become a member of the ticket but I sure plan on campaigning for it.
GLENN: All right, sir. Thank you very much.
GOVERNOR ROMNEY: Thanks, Glenn.