• This is a rush transcript from "Your World With Neil Cavuto," October 20, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


    SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: We were thrilled yesterday when a great American statesman, General Colin Powell, joined our cause.




    SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Joe's dream is so many people here's dream, America's dream — a small business, own a small business that will create jobs.

    And the attacks on him are an attack on small businesses all over this country.



    NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: All right.

    Well, Barack Obama talking up Colin Powell, and John McCain talking up Joe the plumber. Whose backing matters more?

    It's a question I put to former presidential candidate Mitt Romney just a little while ago.


    CAVUTO: So, if you had your druthers and could pick between Colin Powell or Joe the plumber for backing you, who would it be?


    MITT ROMNEY (R), FORMER MASSACHUSETTS GOVERNOR: Well, you want the Joe the plumbers. There are a lot more of them in this country than there are Colin Powells. But, of course, you want them all.

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    And I don't want to minimize Colin Powell's endorsement. It means a great deal to those who listen to Colin Powell and follow him. But — but most people follow their own heart and follow their own assessment of what's in their best interest.

    And — and the — the Joe the plumber allegory, if you will, is a story that can be told by many, many people in this country, who hope to be able to build their own business someday or become enormously successful. And they're not wild about an idea that suggests a president would take away their income and redistribute it to people who aren't paying any taxes at all.

    CAVUTO: All right, but did — did it intrigue you, Governor, when — when Colin Powell had indicated why he was supporting Barack Obama, that John McCain's choice of running mates apparently played a large role in that?

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    He commended Sarah Palin, said a lot of nice things about Sarah Palin, but also tested her experience, which makes me wonder that, had John McCain picked, let's say, someone like you, with a great deal of experience, Colin Powell might never have jumped ship.

    What do you think?

    ROMNEY: Well, it's hard to answer that hypothetical, but I — I would anticipate that, if he were to be looking at vice presidential nominees, he would have to look at Joe Biden. And, if he looked at Joe Biden, he would have to recognize that Joe Biden was on a different side of virtually every foreign policy issue than Colin Powell was over the last 20-plus years.

    So, if we're looking at V.P. nominees, I think you would have to say, Joe Biden was awfully wrong on a whole series of foreign policy matters.

    I think he concentrated on his friendship and respect for Barack Obama. I respect that. But, in the final analysis, I think it comes down to John McCain vs. Barack Obama, not who endorsed them.

    CAVUTO: All right.

    You mentioned earlier about even the economic platforms of the candidates. And there are many conservatives in your party, Governor, who are very leery, if not angry, at John McCain's propensity to come up with big spending proposals, and that this Mr. Earmark has earmarked quite a bit of spending plans on his own — $300 billion, as you know, for mortgage relief, and another 50-some-odd-billion added to his own stimulus plan — that he's outspending Barack Obama.

    What — what say you?

    ROMNEY: Well, I think, if you look at John McCain's proposals, they relate to how to use the money that's already being appropriated by Congress.

    So it's the $700 billion rescue plan. He's saying a — a significant portion of that, up to $300 billion, ought to be used to help people stay in their homes, and thereby stabilize the mortgage market, reduce the number of foreclosures, increase housing values, and help people at the same time.

    CAVUTO: But do you believe that, Governor? Do you really believe that? I mean, this is the argument of a — of a — we take our own knocks and our own responsibilities. It was much the — kind of the campaign that you ran — that is, no bailouts, no rescues — and, now, all bailouts, all rescues. It just seems weird.

    ROMNEY: Well, you can't bail out everybody. You can't rescue everybody. But it's in our national interests not to have the housing market totally collapse or to have the credit markets collapse.

    And, as you look at ways to try and — and keep mortgage money flowing and — and keep from stopping the housing sector of our economy, from the very beginning, this $700 billion plan spoke about buying back securities that were in trouble. And these were largely mortgage — mortgage securities. And Senator McCain has said, instead of just buying them from financial institutions, we ought to buy them to keep people in their homes.

    And it's not going to be painless. People are going to lose their equity in their homes in many, many cases. People will lose some portion of their — obviously, the down payments, but there are going to be ongoing obligations. And, of course, financial institutions are going to take a hit as well. This is not a painless matter.

    Those that have bet and lost are going to find that government is not going to bail them out.

    CAVUTO: All right.

    But I know you're also a very deeply religious man, but you're also one of the most seasoned businessmen in this country. So, I'm wondering, by saying yes to a lot of folks who just hold their hand out, whether we go down a slippery slope? What do you think of that?

    ROMNEY: Yes, I — I don't like the idea of bailing out companies, for purposes of keeping the shareholders and the managers and even the employees employed in a setting where they wouldn't be economic, where they're not competitive anymore.