June 4, 2007

Mitt Romney Interview Transcript Published

The transcript from my one-on-one interview with Mitt Romney is now available at Heading Right, and I think that CQ readers and CQ Radio listeners will find it very revealing. As I noted when I first broadcast the interview, I wanted to press Romney on foreign policy, a topic that has not received much attention so far in this campaign other than the war on terror. Before we got to that, though, I asked the Governor about immigration. He had talked about his opposition to the current compromise under consideration in the Senate based on the Z-visa plan, and I asked him to elaborate on how he would change that part of the legislation:

EM: ... Now, your main problem in this bill as you explained in the interviews today, has been the “Z” provisions which is something that kicks in, it’s supposed to kick in after the triggers but there is a temporary status that kicks in immediately upon passage of the bill. And you were talking about how we can amend the “Z” visas possibly to reflect what you feel are the priorities of trimming illegal immigration. You were saying something about the “Z” visas temporary. Could you explain more about how you would see a temporary “Z” visa program and what would be the cut off at that point?

GR: Well, I’m not proposing legislation; I’m not drafting a piece of legislation. There are many pieces of legislation floating around Washington. My principle is pretty straightforward, which is don’t give the people who here illegally the right to stay here indefinitely in a way that puts them ahead in the line of the people who are applying for that right. And a, one way to do that of course is to say to all people who are here illegally, sign up, for a, come into the post office sign up, or state department or where ever you might be; sign up so that we know who you are and get you on a pathway to, if you will, a realistic attrition program so that you can return home, ultimately if you want to apply for citizenship or apply for permanent residency, you will be able to do so. I don’t think people should be barred from applying for citizenship or permanent residency if they have been here illegally but I don’t think they should have any advantage in being given that status by virtue of having coming here illegally.

After that, I concentrated on foreign-policy questions. I expected Romney to have answers ready for questions about the Middle East, but was surprised at the depth of information he could recall extemporaneously on other areas, including Latin America and trade with China. For instance, when I asked him about the idea for a League of Democracies, he insisted that he had been first with the notion:

EM: It’s been proposed that we try to quarterback the creation of a league of democracies or a league of western nations that, apparently, would be built on a NATO model or something similar to that. Would you think that would be a good model to follow? Do you think it would be something you would want to replace the UN with or is it something you could use in a parallel, if you would be interested in doing that, that you would use it in a parallel fashion to the UN?

GR: Well, that’s something I first proposed under a different name, which is a Partnership for Progress and Prosperity, which is a partnership of civilized nations as well as moderate Islamic states that would come together to help establish good public schools in Islamic states which are threatened by violent jihad, good public schools that are not radical schools, the rule of law in those nations, agriculture and economic policies that are modern and allow these nations to compete in a global basis. Different candidates have picked up on the idea, given it different names, but we’re getting to bring together like minded nations that want to support a movement towards democracy and that’s something which I think is a high priority for this nation.

And on Hugo Chavez:

Hugo Chavez’s progress and his affiliation is very troubling and there are a number of things that I think we need to do. (1) is to reach out diplomatically to leaders of the nations in Latin America; (2) is to assure that our financial support is going is to those nations that are closest to us in supportive of our policies (3)is to market to people of the hemisphere in which we live as to the principles of democracy and free enterprise and to make sure that the reality of America’s heart and goodness which they understand and appreciate (4) I think we should extend our economic ties with nations of Latin America; the President has worked out free trade agreements, trade promotion authority agreements, with a number of nations, with Panama, with Nicaragua, excuse me, with Panama, with Peru and Columbia and in those cases among others, I believe we should be, Congress should be the giving final sign offs so we’re able to have better economic ties, better economic ties, I think, create better understanding our between nations.

I'd say this is quite impressive. Read the whole transcript, and the image of Romney as a slick, tanned, empty suit dissipates rapidly. Whether you support him or not, he is a solid candidate worthy of a long look.


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Comments (4)

Posted by Terry Gain | June 4, 2007 9:01 AM

"the image of Romney as a slick, tanned, empty suit"

What I perceive when I see Romney is an intelligent and articulate man who advocates conservative policies with which I agree. The image you describe is pure Democrat propaganda.

Posted by hapmoorii | June 4, 2007 9:58 AM

Romney's dishonest, sound-bite answer during the first debate defending the Massachusetts health care plan he helped architect turned me against him permanently. His knowledge of foreign relations is unimportant at this point. If he can't be honest, he doesn't need to be president.

Posted by GeorgiaMom | June 4, 2007 11:05 AM

Romney appears to spend a great deal of time studying the issues and their possible solutions. Perhaps there should be a serious of exams for POTUS candidates rather than debates.

Posted by Project Vote Smart | June 4, 2007 5:41 PM

Governor Mitt Romney’s history of speeches on immigration can be found at: Governor Mitt Romney’s Record of Speeches

Governor Mitt Romney’s history of speeches on the Middle East can be found at: Governor Mitt Romney’s Record of Speeches

Governor Mitt Romney’s history of speeches on Latin America can be found at: Governor Mitt Romney’s Record of Speeches

For more information on Governor Mitt Romney’s positions on immigration and foreign policy issues please visit Project Vote Smart or call our hotline at 1-888-VOTE-SMART