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Friday, August 3, 2007
posted by Timotheus | 5:20 PM | permalink
Stumbled on a great interview with Romney done by M.E. Sprengelmeyer of Rocky Mountain News here. One of the best parts was Romney articulating how a President should respond to public opinion:

SPRENGELMEYER: On the Iraq war, sometimes you see polls -- and it all depends how the question is phrased -- sometimes you see polls where the public is very dispirited, and that might lead a majority of the public to take an opinion that goes against what you might feel in your heart is the right strategy. How are you going to confront public opinion sometimes, when public opinion might say, 'Let's withdraw every troop immediately' but you might think something different? Are you afraid of the pressures of public opinion -- not just media, not just your opposing party, but public opinion. Do you sometimes have to go against popular opinion?

ROMNEY: You know, if I had grown up in politics and my whole life were politics and all I cared about was winning elections, then in that setting I could see how an individual might be very concerned about public opinion. I'm not in this for politics. I've only spent four years in political office. My life has been in the private sector, and the love of my life is my wife and my family. I'm in this to make a difference for America. And if I find that the American people significantly disagree with me, that means there are two things I have to do. Number one, understand why they think the way they do, and see if there's something that I may be missing. But number two, if I'm convinced that I'm right and they're not right, then I need to do the job of educating and communicating why I believe what I believe. I believe that the job of the president is not just commander in chief but also educator in chief. And in some cases, the president knows a lot that the American public doesn't know. And if that's the case and if that's the reason for a difference in opinion, then the president is going to have to do a great job of educating and communicating what it is he knows that would shape the public's mood and perception on a particular issue.

Gives you a good sense of how the Presidency could be ran. Also check out the following regarding differences of opinion in an administration:

SPRENGELMEYER: If you were president today... I'm going to have the power of the hypothetical and declare you president today...

ROMNEY: You know I won't respond to hypotheticals, but that one I might respond to.

SPRENGELMEYER: So, Mr. President, how is your Iraq policy, immediately, going to look any different than President Bush's current, today, Iraq policy?

ROMNEY: Well, as you know, my policy would have looked very different over the last three to four years following the collapse of Saddam Hussein. Today, the troop surge policy is in my opinion the best course we have available to us. And I can't predict exactly how that's going to develop. I do not believe it's a certainty that it'll be successful. I am encouraged by the report that we saw from Brookings over the weekend -- a nonpartisan group that weighed in and said that their perception was that the surge is working. I certainly hope that's the case. But I can tell you that I
will make decisions based on thorough analysis of data. Not just opinion but cold, hard facts, and based upon the input of people who disagree with me. I like debate and disagreement. I want to have people who have very different views sit at the table...

SPRENGELMEYER: Is that a problem in the current administration?

ROMNEY: ...promote their positions with the benefit of data and use those views and that data to make decisions. I'm not inside the current administration, so I can't make an assessment of how decisions are made, but in my own life I have been one who has benefited from what Doris Kearns Goodwin has called the 'team of rivals.' I like having people of differing viewpoints. I love having debate. I remember early on in this administration, there were stories about how certain members of the administration disagreed. And there was a great deal of surprise and dismay that there was disagreement. I love disagreement. If I'm president there will be many stories about people in my administration disagreeing with each other, because I hope they do. I need disagreement to make good decisions.

"If I'm president, there will be many stories about people in my administration disagreeing with each other, because I hope they do. I need disagreements to make good decisions."
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