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Mitt Romney on Health Care Overhaul

This is a rush transcript from "Your World With Neil Cavuto," March 4, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, ANCHOR: More closed-door meetings on health care. The president and members of his own party now pow-wowing in private over the very next move.

Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney telling me they’re doing it all wrong. And he knows. He overhauled health care when he was running Massachusetts and says that his plan was nothing like the president’s now.

More of my chat with Mitt Romney and his wife, Ann.

MITT ROMNEY, FORMER MASS. GOVERNOR: He’s not following what we did. What — we had a number of principles that we applied. And by the way we did it first of all on a bipartisan basis. We didn’t say, "OK. We’re just going to work this through with a small group of people, and push that on everybody else. No. We’re going to do this together." Meaning Republican and Democrat, but also private sector — public sector.

When the vote was taken, we have 200 legislators between the Senate and the House. Only two voted no out of 200. It was a bipartisan effort. We...

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: Well, there are many who say it didn’t do what you said it would do.

M. ROMNEY: You know, it did some of the things that we targeted, which...

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: But that would be the model you would use?

M. ROMNEY: Well, the model I’d use is this. Let states solve the problem of getting people insured. Not the federal government. Let each state create their own program based upon their own needs.

Look, Texas has far more uninsured even as a percentage than Massachusetts did. Their program would have to look different — or should look different than ours. Number two: Don’t raise taxes. We can’t raise taxes on the American people we’re trying to help. It kills jobs. That’s the wrong way to go, which the president’s plan does. It raises taxes.

Third: Don’t cut Medicare. Don’t go after our seniors to try and pay for this program. And finally, don’t have the federal government push itself into the insurance industry. Start controlling and managing health care. That’s the wrong way to go as well. Those things we avoided in Massachusetts. We have other mistakes I think in the plan that are going to have to be corrected for it to work effectively. But, you know...

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: So your opponents will do that?

M. ROMNEY: Well, they...

(CROSSTALK)

M. ROMNEY: But, you know, the states are the laboratories of democracy. I would...

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: But can we have 50 different...

M. ROMNEY: Absolutely.

CAVUTO: Really?

M. ROMNEY: Oh, we have 50 different — we have different insurance companies in different states right now. We have different automobile insurance companies. We have different criminal laws in different states. Yes. We have differences. And by the way, if we find one that’s working really well, then perhaps we can apply it across the country.

CAVUTO: I see.

M. ROMNEY: But it’s just a plan to get people insured. And that I think is a good model.

CAVUTO: Well, you get into the nitty-gritty issues, and certainly gets into those kind of issues throughout the book.

My view, reading the book, though, Governor, is that you avoid some of the more hot-button issues, the social issues, which bedevil candidates in races anyway. Abortion comes to mind.

And I’d like to get your reaction to that, Ms. Romney, in that your husband did address abortion, I think a couple of paragraphs, you know, but, by and large, avoided it.

You know, you’re against abortion. You think it’s just not wise, and that — but when he was doing the draft on the book, I’m sure you had some say on something. I’m sure you just — he bounced some ideas off you...

(LAUGHTER)

CAVUTO: ... when that came up, or did it, that, I’m not really going to dwell on this abortion issue?

ANN ROMNEY, WIFE OF MITT ROMNEY: You know, I think he really dealt with the things that he is passionate about, and that he cares about, and that he knows how to fix. I think...

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: Because there’s a base in the party, and that that this is the end-all and be-all, and — and for good reason. But — but there are a lot of end-all and be-all issues, and whether government and, you know, expanding health care in any way, shape, or form. They might, right from the get-go, say that your husband doesn’t get it. He –- it’s — that conservative stuff isn’t in his DNA.

A. ROMNEY: Well, it’s — you can look at our lives, and see how we live our own personal lives. And I think you can just by reflecting on that. Understand where we come from, and where our moral base is. And certainly if you look at our marriage and our children and everything else, you understand that we have a definite strong moral core.

M. ROMNEY: Yes. I’d also say, Neil, that this is a book talking about how we have to strengthen the economic base of America. And going through social issues is a fine thing to do. But it’s really not something which is, at least in my view, terribly amenable to the kind of analysis and proof that I wanted to go through on economic matters.

I mean, you’re either pro-life or pro-choice. There’s no amount of talking that you can typically do to convince somebody.

CAVUTO: Right. You really want to...

(CROSSTALK)

M. ROMNEY: I...

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: I’m the business — I’m the Bain Capital guy, the Winter Olympics guy, the first guy to make a profit on Olympics, to say that you don’t have to go in deep here.

So, that’s what you seem to be embracing. And so...

M. ROMNEY: Well — yes, this is not a book about everything I believe.

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: No. No. And I understand that. I understand that.

(CROSSTALK)

M. ROMNEY: I mean, one of the topics I really wanted to get into, but I said, look, the book is too long already, was homeland security.

CAVUTO: Right.

M. ROMNEY: That’s very, very important. But I have almost nothing in there about homeland security or interrogation techniques. I care...

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: Well, maybe you can squeeze that in another book.

(CROSSTALK)

M. ROMNEY: Yes, I care.

(LAUGHTER)

M. ROMNEY: There’s another book coming.

CAVUTO: Right.

M. ROMNEY: There’s another book coming in a while.

CAVUTO: OK.

M. ROMNEY: It won’t — it will be, you know, three or four years from now. But those are very important issues. I...

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: So, as you’re president, it would be?

M. ROMNEY: You’re very kind.

(LAUGHTER)

CAVUTO: I just wanted to get that in there.

If your husband should run for president, and you were — and — and did become a first lady, you’re a private woman.

And you were a private first lady in Massachusetts. You did a — you know, you led by example. But you didn’t — you weren’t always on the TV cameras. And you avoided that.

Hard to do that as first lady, very hard. Would you be ready for all that?

(LAUGHTER)

A. ROMNEY: That’s a lot of ifs.

M. ROMNEY: Don’t let — don’t let him take you there. That may be too much speculation.

A. ROMNEY: That’s a lot of ifs.

CAVUTO: Well...

(LAUGHTER)

M. ROMNEY: I will tell you, she did far more visibly than I think you would see nationally.

I would just have to speak up for her, because she went to work in my commission to make sure that we could take the dollars that were coming to our state, and make them more effective in changing lives of kids. And she pioneered for the United Way before I was involved in the governor’s office...

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: But would she be like a Hillary Clinton?

M. ROMNEY: I don’t compare my wife to Hillary Clinton in any way. But she is a visible and hardworking first lady.

CAVUTO: Eleanor Roosevelt?

M. ROMNEY: A different model.

(LAUGHTER)

M. ROMNEY: But Ann created something called "Faith in Action." She helped in Massachusetts she helped work with the United Way to say let’s get dollars into faith communities, African American churches, and others in the cities that are making a real difference in the lives of people that have needs.

She is a very visible, very powerful leader in our community. I have to tout her...

(CROSSTALK)

A. ROMNEY: I — I do care passionately — obviously you know, Neil, about multiple sclerosis, and about bringing attention to that, and to the disease. And trying to find a cure for it. But beyond that, I really am quite passionate about troubled teens and youth. And I’ve worked for years in the Boston community in those areas knowing that there are some kids that are really getting lost.

And trying to find ways to really give them a sense of how important they are as individuals. And how loved and adored they are, and how important they are. Because I think so often in the system that we see that these kids are forgotten or lost, or abandoned in so many ways. And for me that’s what — where I was the most passionate was trying to let kids know that they are valuable and wonderful.

CAVUTO: Finally — and this is to both of you — I mean, the Mormon issue, and the religion issue I think has been dealt with, and debated ad nauseam during your last campaign, certainly during your campaign for governor of Massachusetts and beyond.

But it’s going to come up again, I would bet, if it — if you did.

Anything you want to tell the American people on being Mormon, on just that they kind of think you worship aliens or something? I don’t know.

(LAUGHTER)

CAVUTO: Anything you want to share with them that or just get out right now in case they’re saying, oh, that’s the Mormon couple?

A. ROMNEY: I think that for us our faith is a central part of our life. If you can see the reflection of how we’ve lived our life, and how we’ve raised our children. In what kind — it — look at the proof in the pudding.

Look where our children are, and our grandchildren. We have some of the most extraordinary sons — the five sons. The five daughters-in-law. The 14 grandchildren. Look how we live our lives...

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: Do you remember all the birthdays by the way?

A. ROMNEY: You know, I do have to have a special calendar for...

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: Like a spreadsheet.

(LAUGHTER)

M. ROMNEY: She doesn’t look like a grandmother of 14, does she?

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: No way. No way.

Well, listen, continued success. Good health to both of you on whatever you decide. And no one can question either of your patriotism in what is a very raucous political environment.

Ann Romney, Governor Romney, thank you very, very much.

M. ROMNEY: Thank you, Neil.

A. ROMNEY: Thank you, Neil.

CAVUTO: By the way, we have got a goody for you. Be sure to check out the "Your World" show page on FoxNews.com, where you hear exclusive excerpts of Governor Romney reading from his new book, "No Apology," in which he says Neil Cavuto is probably the single best anchor on the planet.

He doesn’t say that, but it would be cool if he did. We could plant it in there.

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