Interviewer: We’ll start with a few questions to get a baseline. In what state were you born?
Interviewer: What is your name?
Mitt: Mitt. Uh, Willard Mitt Romney. But you can just call me Mitt. Hey see if they have Latte’s here....
Aide: Can he have a latte while we are doing this?
Interviewer: No, it would skew the test.
Mitt: Oh, so let’s get this over with. Hey look they have those blood pressure cuffs here! Did you know you can get your pressure checked for free?
Aide: No, governor, I didn’t. Actually, I’ve never been in a Walgreens.
Mitt: Me either, but they have a sign over there. Quaint, isn’t it? And convenient. What will they think of next?
Interviewer: Ok, I think we’ve established a baseline. Let’s begin, shall we? Since you’ve brought it up we’ll start with healthcare. How do you feel about the Affordable Care Act?
Aide: Let me check on our current position on that.
Interviewer: That isn’t allowed. This is a test not only of a candidate’s truthfulness but of the integrity of his policy so that voters can see what a candidate really believes. You aren’t allowed to feed him answers.
Aide: Oh, ok. So can I have a Latte?
Interviewer: Sure. Drink what YOU want. Governor, the Affordable Care Act? What is your position?
Interviewer: Are you saying Obama got it right by modeling the national program from the program you had in Massachusetts? Haven’t you pledged to repeal the Affordable Care Act once elected?
Mitt: “I’m not getting rid of all of health care reform. Of course there are a number of things that I like in health care reform that I’m going to put in place.”(2) “But the right answer is not to have the federal government take over health care and start mandating to the providers across America, telling a patient and a doctor what kind of treatment they can have. That's the wrong way to go. The private market and individual responsibility always work best.”(3)
Interviewer: Aren’t those two statements a bit at odds?
Mitt: No. I see them as being efficient. I mean take me for example, I’m here at Walgreens getting a free blood pressure test. I’m taking care of my own health and saving the taxpayers money while I do it. I’m leading by example and that is how we do it in Massachusetts. If this doesn’t illustrate what I was saying, well we have free blood tests at Walgreens, provided by a business and we have emergency rooms for all other health care needs and the like. There is no need for the government to step in. People can get care from businesses like emergency rooms and Walgreens. “The private market and individual responsibility always work best.” Always.
Interviewer: But wouldn’t that overburden already strained emergency rooms if people used them all the time?
Mitt: I’ve never had to wait at a hospital.
Interviewer: Um, ok.... Let’s talk about immigration. What is your position or how will you lead the nation in developing a cohesive policy here?
Mitt: Immigration? Well first let me go back to my Walgreens example. I’m a ‘lead by example’ guy. See, when we’re done here I’m going to get my blood pressure checked. For free. That does several things. It shows that I take my own health in my own hands. And I’m fiscally responsible. Not like that 47 percent I so inelegantly described.
Aide: Governor, I thought we all agreed not to bring that up? Remember our “Only speak when spoken to or asked a direct question” rule?
Mitt: I never agreed to that!
Interviewer: Please let's get back to this. And that doesn’t actually address immigration, sir....
Mitt: Sure it does, I’m saving the taxpayer’s money by being responsible and I’m getting a great deal because its free. “For me the central issue is that people who are here illegally should be able to apply for citizenship, that should not be prohibited." (4) “If you're opposed to illegal immigration, it doesn't mean that you don't have a heart. It means that you have a heart and a brain.” (5)
Interviewer: So you have both a heart and a brain?
Mitt: To the best of my knowledge. Let me make myself perfectly clear with regard to illegal moochers.“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 have come here illegally.” (6)
Interviewer: I’m confused.
Mitt: I’m all about the 100%.
Interviewer: I see.
Aide: Did you know they sell toys in here too? And school supplies? On aisle 6 they had a nice selection of microwaves. We could use one on the bus.
Interviewer: Ok, moving on. Guns are an important issue to many voters and at times it appears law enforcement and the public line up on opposite sides of the issue. The NRA is a large lobbyer of 2nd Amendment rights. Do you support the NRA?
Interviewer: You mean you would push to curtail the public’s access to semi-automatic weapons?
Mitt: “When it comes to protecting the Second Amendment, I do not support any new gun laws including any new ban on semi-automatic firearms.” (8) “With respect to gun control laws, I believe we need to distinguish between law abiding gun owners and criminals who use guns.” (9)
Interviewer: So in other words, you would both push to curtail access to semi-automatic weapons and protect the Second Amendment?
Interviewer: Do you feel “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was effective as a policy?
Mitt: “When I heard about [Don't Ask Don't Tell] I laughed I said that doesn't make any sense to me, and you know what? It has been there for 15 years, it seems to have worked... I look forward to hearing from the military exactly what they believe is the right way to have the right kind of cohesion and support in our troops and I'll listen to what they have to say.” (10)
Interviewer: So you haven’t exactly made up your mind?
Aide: I found a new case for my iPhone!
Mitt: “There can be domestic partnership benefits or a contractual relationship between two people, which would include as Speaker Gingrich indicated hospital visitation rights and the like, we can decide what kind of benefits we might associate with people who engage in those kind of relationships, state by state.” (11)
Interviewer: So you are against explicitly defining marriage?
Interviewer: But you just said?? Nevermind, my head is spinning. So is it true that in 2009 you were in favor of the economic stimulus?
Mitt: Yes. I think there is need for economic stimulus.” (13) "I think had President Bush and Secretary Paulson and Ben Bernanke not pushed for a TARP type program, we would have been in a free fall that would have caused not only the collapse of a few banks on Wall Street, but banks all over the country, killing not only a few jobs, but all the jobs in this country. That's what we were facing, and the TARP program prevented that from occurring. TARP got paid back and it kept the financial system from collapsing... it was the right thing to do.” (14)
Interviewer: But doesn’t that fly in the face of “free market capitalism,” your supporting the TARP?
Interviewer: What, but you just said??
Mitt: Hey, can we wrap this up? I haven’t had my Latte and my team says California’s in play again.
Interviewer: Ok, last question. You’ve indicated that once in office, you will restore military funding to its former levels. Why is that?
Mitt: “The president's failure to secure an agreement and maintain 10,000 to 30,000 troops in Iraq has to be one of his signature failures.” (16) Afghanistan is Russia’s only ally in the Arab world. It’s their route to the sea. “President Putin has returned to some of the more heated rhetoric of the past, I think he endangers the stability and peacefulness of the globe.” (17) so it’s important that we restore military funding to its former levels. “Ultimately, the independence and the security of Afghanistan is going to have to be secured & maintained by the Afghans themselves. We're not going to stay there forever.” (18) We have to turn our attention & funding to the greater evil. “[Russia] is without question our No. 1 geopolitical foe” (19)
Interviewer: Did I hear you right?! Sir, can you hear me?
Interviewer: So you and President Obama are in agreement about a 2014 withdrawal.
Mitt: I never said that. Why would you say I said that?
Interviewer: Well, because you just said,..
Mitt: You’ll get your chance, I’m talking now. “It’s disgraceful that the Obama administration’s first response was not to condemn attacks on our diplomatic missions, but to sympathise with those who waged the attacks.” (21) I have a 5-Point Plan to peace in the Middle East. First, “I will support friends across the middle east who share our values.” (22) We have to remember: “America has a proud history of strong, confident, principled global leadership – a history that has been written by patriots of both parties.” (23) Patriots that also rode horses and used bayonets to shore up our national defense I might add.
Aide: That was a very well placed “zinger” sir.
Interviewer: If you would like to expand on your 5-Point Plan on foreign policy, please do.
Mitt: Second, “I will roll back President Obama's deep and arbitrary cuts to our national defense.” (24) And I support the Second Amendment. Speaking of 'number two', do I own a home near here? I have to free the chocolate hostages and I’d rather not use a stall.
Interviewer: Governor! Can you hear yourself?
Mitt: I built it myself. Well, we’re almost done, aren’t we? Steps 3 and 4 are in my book. And lastly, “We can't kill our way out of this mess [in the Middle East]. We don't want another Iraq, we don't want another Afghanistan.” (25)
Interviewer: Ok, I think we have enough. Thank you Mr. Romney, I believe we are out of time. We may not have found the truth but we at least can see your broad coverage of the map that makes up the issues facing the American people.
Mitt: Put another dime in the jukebox, baby.
Aide: Do you smell something burning?
HEALTHCARE: (1) Jul 30, 2009; (2) Sep 8, 2012; (3) Oct 3, 2012; IMMIGRATION: (4) May 25, 2007; (5) Sep 23, 2011; (6) Nov 29, 2011; GUN CONTROL: (7) 1994; (8) Dec 30, 2007; (9) 2008; CIVIL RIGHTS: (10) Nov 28, 2007; (11) Jan 7, 2012; (12) May 12, 2012; ECONOMY: (13) Jan 4, 2009; (14) Jan 28, 2010; (15) Sep 28, 2011; FOREIGN POLICY: (16) Dec 22, 2011; (17) Dec 23, 2011; (18) Mar 18, 2012; (19) Mar 26, 2012; (20) Jul 24, 2012; (21) Sep 11, 2012; (22) Oct 08, 2012; (23) Oct 8, 2012; (24) Oct 08, 2012; (25) Oct 23, 2012
ADDITIONAL QUOTES REFERENCED IN CREATING THE CHRONOLOGICAL TIMELINE CHART OF 'Mitt Romney's Views on the Issues':
“I am in favor of maintaining our current [abortion] law, which is the age of consent at 18, and I will preserve and protect a woman's right to choose.” - Oct 2002
"I am absolutely committed to my promise to maintain the status quo with regards to laws relating to abortion and choice and so far, I have been able to successfully do that. And my personal philosophical views on this issue are not something that I think should distract from a more critical agenda." - May 27, 2005
“I think I’ve said time and again that I’m a pro-life candidate and I’ll be a pro-life president. The actions I’ll take immediately is to remove funding for Planned Parenthood.” - Oct 10, 2012
“I believe the world is getting warmer, I can't prove that, but I believe based off what I read that the world is getting warmer. And number two I believe humans contribute to that.” - Oct 28, 2011
“My view is that we don't know what's causing climate change on this planet. And the idea of spending trillions and trillions of dollars to try to reduce CO2 emissions is not the right course for us” - Oct 28, 2011
“Scientists will figure [climate change] out ten, twenty, fifty years from now” - Dec 9, 2011
"We're going to cut taxes on everyone across the country by 20 percent, including the top 1 percent.” - Feb 22, 2012
“And the answer is yes, we can help, but it's going to take a different path, not the one we've been on, not the one the president describes as a top-down, cut taxes for the rich. That's not what I'm going to do.” - Oct 3, 2012
“I will not reduce the share paid by high income individuals. I know that you and your running mate keep saying that, and I know it's a popular thing to say with a lot of people, but it's just not the case.” - Oct 3, 2012
“I supported No Child Left Behind. I still do.” - May 15, 2007
“I fully support the effort to extend the low interest rate on student loans. There is some concern that would expire halfway through the year, and I support extending the temporary relief on interest rates for students.” - Apr 23, 2012
“I’m not going to cut education funding. I don’t have any plan to cut education funding and grants that go to people going to college. I’m planning on continuing to grow, so I’m not planning on making changes there.” - Oct 3, 2012
(Research & graphic credits go to seishin)