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Thursday, November 8, 2007
posted by Justin Hart | 3:25 PM | permalink and Race42008 team up to bring you an exclusive interview with Mitt Romney.

MyManMitt and are pleased to provide you the following interview with Gov. Mitt Romney.

Gov. Romney was gracious in taking time from his hectic schedule on the campaign trail in Connecticut to speak with Kavon Nikrad, Justin Hart, Jason Bonham, and MattC.

In this interview, Gov. Romney discusses his plan for defusing the Iranian nuclear crisis, reforming the federal government from the top down, providing relief to the African Continent, and how his national health care plan differs from that which was enacted in Massachusetts.

Kavon W. Nikrad: It seems that in dealing with the Iranian nuclear crisis, the U.S. is forced to choose between different degrees of loss; or perhaps instead, we are in search of the choice in which we lose the least. On one hand, do nothing and the mullahs gain nuclear weapons; act militarily and we at minimum risk enraging a generation of young Iranians that may have overthrown the current regime eventually; and at worse start WWIII. Do you feel there is a scenario where the U.S. can “win”?

Gov. Mitt Romney: Well, I was in Israel early this year and spoke at the Herzliya Conference in Tel Aviv and laid out a seven-point strategy to convince Iran to abandon nuclear ambition and to instead pursue a path towards prosperity and peace. And that plan has at its heart much tougher economic and diplomatic sanctions against Iran during a time when its pursuing nuclear technology. I also believe that we should market democracy much more clearly to the people of Iran and we should make them painfully aware of the tragic course that a nuclear nation is pursuing.

Specifically, becoming a nuclear nation puts them very much at risk. Because as a nuclear nation, there is risk that fissile material that they develop would fall into the hands of terrorists, or others who would use it; and the civilized world will respond not just against the nation or the entity that uses that weapon, but also to the nation that supplies that fissile material. So I believe that it is very much in our interest to communicate these things and to show the world’s displeasure at Iran’s nuclear ambition.

And finally, of course, our military option must be one that we hold ready and that we are willing to take.

Justin Hart: Governor, you’ve spoken on numerous occasions about performing a top to bottom review of the government, an audit as you put it. What will that process look like, what will you be looking for as you conduct the audit, and what do you think you will find?

Gov. Mitt Romney: Well, first of all the people that I would bring together would not be a group of government bureaucrats but instead individuals from outside government who would take review of a particular agency or department or program area and look at all of the spending which we do in that area, all of the agencies that participate in that area, the programs that are focused upon it and we would evaluate the effectiveness of each of those programs, the effectiveness of the dollars spent, determine if there is some unintended by-product either good or bad that are coming from the agency or from the program. And on that basis we would rank/order those programs that should be eliminated, those that out to be expanded, and those that ought to be consolidated into others.

Right now, for instance, in an area like economic development there are some 342 different programs. We really don’t need that many. We ought to find a way to streamline and simplify, eliminate overhead, eliminate bureaucracy and make Washington more responsive to the needs of the people.

Matt C.: You stated a couple weeks ago that you represented the “Republican Wing of the Republican Party”, echoing Howard Dean’s statements in 2004. Could you first explain what you mean by that, and secondly, in hindsight, do you have any regrets saying that seeing the storm of attacks it brought you from Giuliani, McCain, Thompson, and others?

Gov. Mitt Romney: Well, actually the quote’s not quite accurate – which is, I said that I believe we do need to represent the Republican heartland or Republican base vote and that’s not just me, but it’s all of those that are running for office. I’m certainly not the only one that represents, if you will, the Reagan coalition but I’m one of those that does. And I do believe that to win the White House it is essential that we bring together the three branches of conservatism that Ronald Reagan assembled for his great victory – and that is social conservatives, economic conservatives, and foreign policy conservatives. I think if we are missing one of those three branches, we will not be successful in winning the White House.

So, like the others who are fighting for the nomination and establishing our bona fides, I think it’s essential to bring that group together, and I intend to speak on those topics and to try and build my support – I know the other fellows are doing the same thing – and ultimately the people will have their choice as to who they think is best able to represent those values of social, economic, and foreign policy conservatives.

Jason Bonham: A lot of America’s foreign policy focus is based on the War on Terror and European relationships. You have also specifically highlighted a need to take China more seriously. The U.S. and the UN have a past of ignoring serious problems in Africa including genocide. What are your views on the importance of African concerns to our foreign policy and what specifically would you do address these as president?

Gov. Mitt Romney: Well you make a very good point, which is that we as a public tend to focus on one hot spot at a time. And perhaps even our politicians do the same. A president and a nation must focus on all the areas of the world and understand how those areas are developing in ways that might encourage peace and stability or ways which might distract from them.

In my view it’s important for us to consider Africa on the basis of many issues. One of course is the tragic human condition of many in Africa who are subject to diseases such as AIDS, Malaria and others. A second aspect of our concern in Africa has to relate to the genocide occurring in Sudan, and then another area of concern would certainly be the spread of radical Jihadism. Whether it’s in Egypt, Algeria, Nigeria, Tanzania, Kenya, throughout Africa there are efforts on the part of radical jihadists to overthrow moderate modern governments. So we as a nation must join together with other civilized nations to help strengthen Africa so that it can reject the extreme and so that it can overcome the profound humanitarian crises which are upon it.

It is unfortunate that the United Nations has been unsuccessful in fulfilling its mission. The United Nations has not been able to stop genocide, has not stopped war, has not stopped the spread of diseases like AIDS. And so I believe it’s gonna’ take free nations coming together, working together on a global basis -and particularly with regards to a place like Africa- to help support moderate people so they can reject the extreme within them and so that we can combine to stop the spread of radical-violent-Jihadism.

Kavon W. Nikrad: Perhaps the signature accomplishment of your time as Governor of Massachusetts was enacting Massachusetts health care reform. However, while campaigning for President you have stressed that the solution that was right for Massachusetts would not necessarily be the correct one for the nation as a whole. Can you talk about the differences between the plan that was implemented in Massachusetts and the one you would champion as President?

Gov. Mitt Romney: Well I like what we did in Massachusetts and it may well be ideal for other states. But, of course, my view is that you don’t have the federal government put in place a one-size-fits-all plan for every single state. And that’s because of the differences between our state’s populations and their needs. In Massachusetts for instance, 7% of our population was uninsured. But in Texas, 25% of the population is uninsured. And therefore the plan that works in one state may not work perfectly in another. Likewise in California, a single individual can buy a good health care policy for $2000 a year. But in New Jersey, the cost is $6000 a year. So there’s going to be a needed reform of the health insurance market in New Jersey in order to provide the kind of quality insurance options that exist in places like California.

My view is this therefore-I want to get everybody in our country insured. But I do not want the government to mandate to states how they do it. Instead, I’d like the federal government to provide the flexibility to states just like they did to us in Massachusetts so that we could each craft our own plan to get our citizens insured.

Secondly, I don’t want our citizens to all get Medicare or Medicaid. In other words, I don’t think that government insurance is the right course for the uninsured. Rather, I believe that market-based, private insurance is the best course helping people who are uninsured become insured.

And finally, I do not believe that we should spend more money or require additional taxes to pay for these programs. We should, instead, redirect money that is already being used to help the poor.

So on a number of basis I take a very different course than Hillary Clinton’s. Her view is a one-size-fits-all plan. I say no, let it be done by states. Her plan is to give everybody that is uninsured government insurance. I say no, give them free market based insurance. And then her plan calls for an extra $110 billion a year in spending and in new taxes. I say no, use the money we are already spending and no new taxes.


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