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Transcript of Fox News Channel's interview with Mitt Romney

 

BRET BAIER: Hey John, good morning. We are joined by Governor Romney here in Sioux City ahead of an event here in Iowa. Governor, thanks for being here.

MITT ROMNEY: Thanks, Bret.

BAIER: I want to talk to you about the democratic convention and just the messaging coming out of there in just a second. But today the news about the jobs numbers. 8.1 percent unemployment, going down basically because people got out of the job market and 96,000 jobs created. Your thoughts?

ROMNEY: Well, obviously another disappointing monthly figure. And I know the White House keeps saying that you can't look at just monthly numbers but if you look over the last several quarters, the last several years, you see the continued pattern which is that we are not creating the jobs we need to create to put Americans back to work. For every net new job created, about four people dropped out of the workforce. So we're going in the wrong direction. This is a very difficult time for the American people. By the way, wages are also not rising. So no increase in wages - declining wages, actually. Declining number of people able to find work. People dropping out of the workforce. It's another continuation of very bleak news on the employment front.

BAIER: Do you think that this jobs report will spur the federal reserve into action and do you think if they do that, that might affect the election?

ROMNEY: I think it's hard to predict exactly that the federal reserve will do. I don't think that there's any action that they're going to take that will have an immediate impact on the economy and frankly I think they have shot a lot of their monetary bullets and those bullets are not able to strike at a target that makes a real difference for the American worker today. What we really need is to have policies coming from Washington that are fiscally sound and that get America back on track to having the kind of financial stability and foundation of economic growth that puts people to work.

BAIER: I've been told that you did not watch the President's speech last night and that you read it. Your thoughts about that speech and the overall messaging coming out of Charlotte?

ROMNEY: Well, I was disappointed with the speech. Of course, it has been a disappointing four years. There was nothing in the speech that gives confidence that the President knows what he is doing when it comes to jobs and the economy. As a matter of fact, he hardly even mentioned jobs or the economy. And for that matter, there is nothing that he has really done in the last three and a half, four years that gives confidence he knows what he is doing with regards to jobs and the economy anyway. Uh, this has been a very disappointing time for the American people. He in his speech laid out a few new promises, uh, but the old promises he gave he did not report on and the reason he didn't do that is because he was unable to fulfill the old promises. At the last convention he said he'd cause incomes to rise. They have gone down. He'd create more jobs. We don't have new jobs in America. We'd see new businesses start up. As a matter of fact we are at a 30 year low in business start ups. He was going to cut the deficit in half. It has doubled. Almost every indication of what he would do last time he was running, he has not been able to fulfill and what we saw and what we read with regards to last night's speech was a President making new promises which he will also be unable to fulfill and no new plan. No new ideas, no new here's how we're going to get the economy going, here are the specifics of what it takes - nothing there.

BAIER: Well you know democrats charge that you did not provide specifics down in Tampa. Now you're saying the President didn't provide specifics.

ROMNEY: Well I laid out the five steps I would take to get the economy going. And I have spoken about them throughout my campaign - (BRET: Right.) about the five key steps that will get America's economy creating the jobs and rising take-home pay the American people want. And I can elaborate in great depth on those five -

BAIER: We've been over the five steps.

ROMNEY: You don't want to hear? But so I'm very specific as to what I'll do to get the economy going. What the President said last night has virtually no new steps, no indication of what he is going to do other than he really wants things to get better and he hopes to create jobs but not how he is going to do it.

BAIER: I'd like to address a few specific things said down in Charlotte about you. One of them - President Clinton said that no president could turn the economy around, the economy President Obama inherited in four years. Could you have?

ROMNEY: Well I could have done a heck of a lot better job than this President has and you know, I wasn't elected so that's kind of moot. But the point is when this President was elected, he and his team announced to the American people that by now, we'd have 5.4 percent unemployment. Now, had he delivered on that promise - that was his promise, I didn't demand he put it out there, he put it out for the American people. Had he delivered on that promise, there would be 9 million more jobs in America today than there are. That was his promise. So... I'm only holding him accountable by the measure he himself put out to the American people.

BAIER: The auto bailout came up as a topic arguably more than any other down in Charlotte. Democrats think they have a powerful attack against you. We have heard your explanation about structured bankruptcy and to be honest, you know, it doesn't really fit on a bumper sticker. But what do you do to attract those voters in Ohio and Michigan and other states tied to the car industry that may have been sway by the democrats messaging on this issue?

ROMNEY: Well, there's a nice chance in debates to talk about truth and fiction. Um, I don't think many people understand that the President took the car companies into bankruptcy. They went into bankruptcy exactly as I proposed so the difference between us is that I would have done it earlier than the President did and saved the American taxpayers about 20 billion dollars. That's a message which will come out in the debates and perhaps in ads (laughs). I don't write my own ads but the message will be communicated to the American people and I think they recognize that when it comes to saving an industry and making more jobs for the American people, I've got a record that shows I know how to do that. And the President who has been in office for four years had simply been unable to deliver what he promised.

BAIER: A few more things, Governor. To hear several speakers in Charlotte - and I don't think this is jump (?) - they were essentially saying you don't care about the U.S. military because you didn't mention U.S. troops and the war in Afghanistan in your nomination acceptance speech. We understand you went to the American Legion the day before and you talked about the service and sacrifice of the military there. Do you regret opening up this line of attack, now a recurring attack, by leaving out that issue in the speech?

ROMNEY: I only regret you repeating it day in and day out. (LAUGHS)

BAIER: Well I mean, what just came from Charlotte -

ROMNEY: Because when you give a speech, you don't give a laundry list. You talk about the things that uh you think are important. And I described in my speech my commitment to a strong military unlike the President's decision to cut our military. And I didn't use the word troops, I used the world military. I think they refer to the same thing. And of course going to the American Legion the day before during the middle of our convention made a much bigger statement to our military and our troops than the President who did not go meet with the American Legion. I also spoke to the VFW the week before, so I think our American military understands that I am fully supportive of their effort. And unlike the President who we understand from Bob Woodward's book, at least from the excerpts, the President was and the White House part of the author of this sequestration idea that would slash our military. I oppose that idea, think it is absolutely wrong to cut our military as the President is doing.

BAIER: Governor, last thing. What is your sense of this race right now? I mean, we are 60 days out. We are traveling the country, you are here in Iowa today. What's your sense of where things are and how important those debates will be?

ROMNEY: Well I think people will make up their mind as we go along here. I can't tell you when everyone will have settled down. A lot of people won't make up their mind until the day before the election (LAUGHS) or the day of the election. But it's a horse race. We've got two candidates that would take our nation in different directions. My direction is one that encourages the private sector again to create jobs. And the history of America has been a powerful and robust economy with great jobs and rising wages based on a strong private sector. The President's plan is to build a bigger government. I don't know any nation on earth that succeeded in creating a strong middle class with rising wages based on building a stronger and bigger government. So we've got different paths ahead of us and I think, um, people can look at the success of the President's path by looking at his record over the last four years. If they like the direction they have seen, if they think we are heading in the right direction, why, he may be their guy. But I think if they take a look at the last four years, they will conclude we are not better off than we were four years ago and that means that they will support me.

BAIER: Governor, we know you have a busy day here in Iowa. We really appreciate the time --

ROMNEY: Thanks, Bret.