Glenn: They're saying now that there is a possibility that 50 percent of all the votes that are being cast in Florida today have already been cast. They were the early votes. No concept of what that means for the outcome tonight. One of the guys who is -- who is running for President of the United States and neck in neck right now, it is a statistical dead heat, is on the phone with us, Mitt Romney. Welcome to the program, governor.
Governor Romney: Good morning, Glenn. Good to be with you.
Glenn: How are things in Florida?
Governor Romney: You know, Florida is beautiful this morning as it typically is and I've got tell you, I've had some huge rallies in Florida. I'm getting more support here and, you think, I think I'm going to win this one.
Glenn: Well, you have the momentum going in. The polls are showing that you're surging, but, I mean, it's a dead heat. It's going to be a nail biter tonight.
Governor Romney: Well, I think you're right but I think what brings people over to my side in the final analysis is they're concerned about the economy, they're concerned about the value of their retirement funds, the value of their homes, the strength of their job, the cost of health care, the cost of gasoline, and I know they've got to have a President who actually understands the real economy and when Senator McCain has said time and again that the economy is not his strong suit, I think that really is tough for people who want to make sure you've got somebody who understands how jobs come and go.
Glenn: You know, you're surging in the polls all across the country because people are starting now to pay attention to you and know who you are. For anybody who doesn't know your history, when it comes to the economy, who are you? What is your experience?
Governor Romney: Well, you know, I came out of graduate school and went to work in the consulting world. I spent 25 years in business. I was head of a consulting company, then I worked for a company who bought companies and started companies. One of the ones I worked for was Staples. I spent over a decade helping Staples and we added about 20,000 jobs there and then after that I got asked to come out and run the Olympics in Utah which I did, I was asked if I would run for governor, I did, and Massachusetts was in real trouble financially, losing money very badly, and losing jobs and we were able to turn the state around. So, my background is working in the real economy and, frankly, you've got a lot of politicians in Washington who have never had a job in the real economy and it's no wonder they don't understand it.
Glenn: The Florida economy, especially with housing in real trouble, would you bail people out that, you know, got into these real bad loans? Would you bail individuals out as the Government?
Governor Romney: Well, the Government does not have a responsibility to bail out investors or people who take unreasonable risks. At the same time, there are some people who got really surprised. They signed up for a mortgage. They're able to meet the original obligation for that original, but now the mortgage has reset has much higher rate, they can't meet it and in some cases we could give them help if they could pay the original terms of their mortgage. We would rather have them stay in their home than have them dump the home to flower closure into the market. So, the expanding the ability of the FHA to guarantee some loans, I think, makes sense to make sure we don't depress the housing market because that, of course, affects all of us.
Glenn: McCain suggested that you and Hillary Clinton have similar views in Iraq and if I may quote him, he said, now, one of my opponents wanted to set a date for withdrawal which would mean disaster if we surrender, wave a white flag like Senator Clinton wants to do and withdraw from Iraq. You then demanded an apology but McCain said that you should apologize and, if I may quote him again, "I think the apology is owed to the young men and women serving this nation in uniform from Governor Romney."
Governor Romney: Well, it's too bad when somebody wants to be President so bad that they'll say anything against their opponent and obviously his statement has been discredited -- well, everybody from Bill Bennett to the "New York Times". I have never called for a specific date of withdrawal from Iraq and the senator knows that. We've debated now 13 times. That's never been said by anybody but Ron Paul. So, even if Ron Paul -- I'm not even sure he said it. So, it's totally false and he knows that. But, you know, he accomplished his mission. It's something which Washington politicians do time and again which is try and distort their opponent's views and then attack them and in this case I think you're going to find the voters of Florida saying that he had enough of that kind of Washington politician speak and they're just not going to send another Washington politician back to Washington. They know that that's not going to get things fixed.
Glenn: There is a story in the Drudge Report today that there was an internal memo or something from you guys. What was it called, Stu? What is it? Yeah. I can't remember what it was called, but it was on McCain's outburst and I have heard from several people and this is why he lost in 2000, is because this guy's got a nasty temper. The temperament of the President of the United States, an important thing to you?
Governor Romney: Well, I think it's a critical thing. I think people recognize that when they select a president, it's going to be hard to know precisely what the challenges our nations will face in the ensuing eight years and they want a person who has the judgment and the wisdom and the decision making capacity and the temperment to be able to deal with the challenges that arise and I think that's in part why typically people look for individuals outside Washington, governors over senators, because they know that governors have been experienced, they've been tested, they've been able to deal with tough circumstances, and senators, of course, are wonderful people but they haven't had the chance of actual executive leadership and they want somebody who has been tested and has been found able to deal with that kind of stress.
Glenn: Tonight on television we're doing the beginning of a story and then fully expanding it on tomorrow on McCain's Hispanic outreach director. I'm not sure if you're aware of this, but he has just had now in his campaign Juan Hernandez. Hernandez is a guy who I've had on the television show several times, to the point where I couldn't take him anymore and I banned him from the show because honestly blood would shoot out of my eyes because he has said things and I quote, "I want Mexican Americans, the third generation, the seventh generation, I want them all to think Mexico first." If McCain is a guy who has this guy in as his his sponge outreach director and he's doing this during the primary for the republican party, good heavens. What will this man do when he's President of the United States, when it comes to the border and what is the difference between you and him and how can anyone trust any of you politicians that you're actually going to put a fence up on the border?
Governor Romney: Well, I will put a fence up. I will also say that we're going to have an employment system that makes sure employers know who's here legally and who's here illegally and if somebody is here illegally, we will sanction employers who hire them, anyway, and those that have come here illegally are welcome to get in line with everybody else that wants to come here, but there are to be no special pathway, no special privilege for becoming a preventive resident or citizen by somebody who's come here legally and I know John McCain and I disagree on this. His plan has been called by everybody who has looked at, an amnesty plan. It is the wrong way to go for this country and the idea that you describe with his outreach coordinator is one which I find totally add odds with the history of this country.
Glenn: Are you following at all what's happening in Arizona? They've got the -- they've just now instituted the law where if you knowingly hire an illegal alien, the company is in trouble and the illegal aliens are sent back home and Mexico and a lot of the law makers in Arizona didn't even know this when we started to call them and find out what the deal was but law makers from Mexico came to law makers in Arizona and met in the Arizona Capitol and said, we cannot afford the jobs, the schools, and the hospitals in Mexico. You cannot send these people back. Please don't enforce this law. Any reaction to that?
Governor Romney: Well, I want to enforce that law nationally. My view is that we should say to employers that before they hire someone, they have to determine if they have a valid Social Security number and, therefore, are you a U.S. citizen. If not, they have to look at their document which I would give them a card, a tamper proof card which shows whether they're here legally or not and only those that are here legally would be able to be hired and those that are here illegally an employer could not hire and if they do, you sanction the employer severely. Now, I don't want to stop the ability of this nation to have people come here as immigrants. That's a wonderful thing for our country but I want them to come legally. This morning I'm going to be in Tampa celebrating with my own folks in a big rally, but down the hall there is going to be 700 people who have going to be sworn in as U.S. citizens. I like that. I like legal immigration, but illegal immigration has got to end and amnesty is not the way to do it.
Glenn: Bill Clinton said that McCain and Hillary Clinton are very close. Are you close with Hillary Clinton?
Governor Romney: I've met her once or twice, but I'll have to say we're very, very far apart, but Senator McCain is known as Feingold which the democrats love and which is a disaster for our party and I think a real strike at the First Amendment. Of course, Hillary Clinton and Senator McCain supported that. The next piece was McCain Kennedy which is this amnesty style immigration bill which, of course, Hillary Clinton supported, as does Senator McCain and the last is this McCain Lieberman bill which would end up putting about a 50¢ per gallon and would cost the average homeowner here in Florida about a thousand dollars a year. Again, you have something that Hillary Clinton likes, John McCain likes, and I think is a terrible idea.
Glenn: The State of the union happened last night. Did anything in that jump out at you in the economy, where you thought, oh, geez, this is not the right direction to go?
Governor Romney: Well, there were a couple of things where I would have taken exception with the President, not a lot, but, you know, this is a man who has no ax to grind. He's getting out of politics. He's saying it as he feels it, but there were a couple of things that I disagreed with. One was the idea that we need to have a very large expansion of our guest worker program to bring more workers into the country. That's not something which would have jumped to my mind as a high priority. I know we have a Visa program that allows people to come to our country and work and if from time to time we need to expand or contract different forms of it, that's one thing, but a major guest worker program would not have been on my list and I would have made a bigger deal of saying, look, those who are here illegally need to go home.
Glenn: Right. I've got just a couple of seconds and I don't want to bring up a sore subject, but are you disappointed that you didn't get the Times endorsement?
Governor Romney: (Laughter.) Let me tell you. That's like the kiss of death.
Glenn: I really thought the times was really actually for you and they thought, if we endorse McCain, everyone will be for Romney.
Governor Romney: That was the best gift they could have given me. That and the "Boston Globe". I would have liked to see them go elsewhere, but I don't think they ever considered my candidacy.
Glenn: Governor Mitt Romney. Thank you, sir.