BAIER: Like the "Union Leader," your critics charge that you make decisions based on political expediency and not core conviction. You have been on the both sides of some issues, and there's videotape of you going back years, speaking about different issues, climate change, abortion, immigration, gay rights.How can voters trust what they hear from you today is what you will believe if you win the White House?
ROMNEY: Well, Bret, your list is just not accurate. So, one, we're going to have to be better informed about my views on issues. My view is, you can look at what I've written in my book.
Now which version of the book No Apology would that be? The hardcover version mentions Romneycare as being a model for healthcare reform for the whole nation and the paperback version omits that reference. You've taken flip flopping to a new level when you change positions in different editions of the same book. So how exactly does reading Romney's book clarify anything? I prefer YouTube where you can see Romney flipflopping for yourself. And based on Youtube, Bret's list is pretty accurate.
BAIER: But I'm sure you've seen these ads, using videotape of you in previous years, speaking on various issues.
BAIER: And it seems like it's in direct contrast to positions you take now.
ROMNEY: Well, I'm glad that the Democratic ads are breaking through and you got --
BAIER: Jon Huntsman has a couple ads that do the exact same thing.
Did Romney just accuse Bret Baier of Fox News of being a tool of the Democrats? Really? Is that what you resort to when someone asks a legitimate question?
BAIER: In recent days, you've charged that Speaker Gingrich was proposing amnesty essentially with what he said in that last debate.You were attacking him on immigration, but you took what seemed like a very similar position back in 2006-2007, telling Bloomberg that some illegal immigrants need to be allowed to stay, come out of the shadows, and, quote, "we need to begin a process of registering those people, some being returned, some beginning the process of applying for citizenship and establishing legal status. We're not going to go through a process of tracking them all down and moving them out."
BAIER: Is that different than where you are now?
ROMNEY: You know, my view is that those people that are here illegally today should have the opportunity to register and to have their status identified and those individuals should get in line with everyone else that's in line legally. They should not be placed ahead of the line. They should, instead, go at the back of the line, and they should not be allowed to stay in this country and be given permanent residency or citizenship merely because they've come here illegally.
Huh? Exactly how would that work? And why would an illegal voluntarily register unless it put them on a path to legality? And doesn't the fact that they are already here mean they are already at the head of the line?
BAIER: But isn't that what Gingrich is saying? Isn't he saying short of citizenship --
ROMNEY: I can't tell you what Speaker Gingrich is saying.
BAIER: But yet you call him --
ROMNEY: Bret, no. If he's going to do what I believe he said he was going to do for those people who would be allowed to stay permanently and become citizens, that would be providing for them a form of amnesty. But my view is, and I can tell you what -- I'll let him describe his view. My view is pretty straightforward.For those people who've come here illegally, they should have the opportunity to get in line with everybody else who wants to come in to this country, but, they go to the back of the line and they should be given no special pathway to citizenship or permanent residency merely because they've come here illegally.
That's a neat trick, he admits to criticizing Gingrich and then says "I can't tell you what Speaker Gingrich is saying." What the? Is he flip flopping on criticisms now too? I also love how he views his nonsensical and murky answer on immigration as straightforward. Yeah maybe for a Bain management consultant who obfuscates and creates overly complicated PowerPoint presentations for a living (he must have had entire groups within Bain making his 59 point plan), but not for normal people.
BAIER: The question is what you do with the 11 million plus people who are already here and how you handle them. And back in 2006-2007, you made a point in saying, we're not going to round them all up and send them out.
ROMNEY: That's right.
BAIER: So, what do you do with them?
ROMNEY: You know, there's great interest on the part of some to talk about what we do with the 11 million. My interest is saying, let's make sure that we secure the border, and we don't do anything that talks about bringing in a new wave of those or attracting a new wave of people into the country illegally.The right course for us is to secure the border and say nothing about amnesty or tuition breaks to illegal aliens or anything else that draws people into the country illegally. The right course, secure the border, and then, we can determine what's the right way to deal with the 11 million and to make it as clear as I possibly can.
Wait wasn't he just talking about a plan of what to do with the 11 million? I'm confused. And tell me again how this is any different than Newt's position again? This is about as clear as a teenagers skin.
BAIER: About your book, you talk about Massachusetts healthcare. We've heard you many times, in the debates and interviews, talk about how it is different in your mind than the president's healthcare law, Obamacare. The question is, do you still support the idea of a mandate? Do you believe that that was the right thing for Massachusetts? do you think a mandate, mandating people to buy insurance is the right tool?
ROMNEY: Bret, I don't know how many hundred times I've said this, too. This is an unusual interview.
This is an unusual interview because he is asking the questions at the heart of the reason that 75% of Republicans can't stand you? Would you rather have fluff questions? Maybe if your answers were believable people would stop asking.
ROMNEY: All right. Let's do it again. Absolutely. What we did in Massachusetts was right for Massachusetts. I've said that time and time again, that people of the state continue to support it by about 3-1, but it's also designed for Massachusetts, not for the nation, and at the time our bill was passed, and that was brought forward as an issue, there were people who said, is this something you'd like to have the entire nation do?I said no. This is not a federal plan, it's a state plan. And under the constitution, states should be able to craft their own plans, and our plan --
If it has such high levels of support, why were you a one term Governor again? Maybe that's unfair as I'm sure your unbridled desire to be President of this country drove you to decide not to run again 3 years before the Presidential election.
BAIER: So, governor, you did say on camera and other places that, at times, you thought it would be a model for the nation.
ROMNEY: You're wrong, Bret.
BAIER: No, no. There's tape --
Who are you going to believe? Me or your own lying eyes! He is almost like the Republican version of Obama. Who thinks if he says something that makes it true, whether it really is or not.
BAIER: You think that you are well positioned to go up against President Barack Obama on the issue of healthcare?
ROMNEY: Of course. The best equipped, the best equipped. I understand healthcare. I spent a good portion of my career working in healthcare. I came up with a plan, unlike his, that doesn't cost a trillion dollars. Unlike his, we didn't raise taxes. Unlike his, I didn't cut Medicare by half a trillion dollars.
That would have been a neat trick, making a healthcare plan for Massachusetts with a total of 6.5 million people cost a trillion dollars. Based on a Cato Report from 2008, it looks like it cost about $2 billion in 2008. If you adjust for the difference in population size between the US and Massachusetts you get a plan that costs $93 billion a year. On a 10 year basis, that get's you to $930 billion, just a smidge (a technical term) under a trillion. And while yes, he didn't cut medicare, Romneycare does accept Federal subsidies for its implementation. So all of us are paying for it right now, as we speak.
BAIER: A.B. Stoddard from "The Hill" asked, if you were president this week, what would you do immediately in response to the Pakistani's decision to shut off NATO supply lines to Afghanistan and force CIA to vacate a key base used for drone operations?
ROMNEY: Well, this ought to involve the personal attention of the president of the United States, either in person or on the phone. There ought to be a building relationship with leadership in Pakistan to understand our mutual interests. And I'm afraid that we're growing further and further apart, in part because of a president who simply doesn't know how to lead.And we need to have a president who can be on the phone, who can have a personal relationship, not only with Mr. Zardari, generals in Pakistan, with members of the ISI, to assure that they understand exactly where we're coming from, and we understand their interests. We recognize that the Pakistan people and the leaders of Pakistan, of course, it's a very multi- fractioned group there, that they will act out of their self-interest.They don't sit up nights wondering what's best for the United States. They think what's best for them and for their lives and their careers. We need to understand that. And then, we need to make sure that we have places of common ground where we can work together. I think you're seeing a pulling apart of our nations, and that would have great consequences, long term and short-term.
I'm sorry, didn't the Pakistani troops fire first? This is a case of friendly fire on both sides, a horrible by-product of any war which I think both sides understand. The Pakistanis are just using this as an excuse to go after us. So why would you go groveling to them? Isn't that something Obama would do? Such a wishy washy answer.
BAIER: Charles Krauthammer asked, you pledged that as president you would stop Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon, the last resort, of course, a military attack. What you're saying is that you're prepared to carry it out if necessary. He asks, would it be a single strike or sustained bombing campaign like in Serbia, would it be aimed at only the weapons or the pillars of the regime if you got to that point?
ROMNEY: Well, before I could make a decision of that nature, I'd have to have a very thorough top-secret briefing by our military to understand exactly what our options are, what the responses would be from the Iranian military. The intelligence community would have to weigh in. There's a lot more information I need to have to know what type of military strike would be appropriate and effective.
Elements of Herman Cain in that answer. I think the right answer from someone who is our Commander in Chief should be "we would continue bombing until our mission is accomplished" (remember when Presidents spoke in terms of actually winning?). His relatively wishy washy answer makes me think he is as much a pretend hawk as he is a pretend conservative.
BAIER: Lightning round here. What was the last book you read or reading?
ROMNEY: I'm reading sort of a fun one right now, so I'll skip that, but I just read "Decision Points" by President Bush.
Heaven forbid he humanizes himself, I guess it is the Romneybot all the way. It would be funny if it were The Picture of Dorian Gray, as he is the Dorian Gray of the GOP.
BAIER: Do you think your faith will hurt you in this primary election, and what do you think the biggest misconception about your faith is?
ROMNEY: I think it may have some impact among a narrow group of individuals, but by and large, I don't think it will make the decision. Biggest misconception is the name of our church. It's the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
Really, the name is the biggest misconception? Not the fact that many people call it a strange cult? Or that people think Mormons still have multiple sister-wives? How lame.
With Romney, the more I listen to him, the less I like him. He is an evasive, insincere human being who is interested in only one thing, self-aggrandizement. And tell me again how any of these questions were "uncalled for"?