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Hannity

Mitt Romney Weighs in on Granite State Debate

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," September 5, 2007. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated

ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: We are now joined by former Massachusetts Governor and presidential candidate, Mitt Romney.

Were they too rough on you tonight?

MITT ROMNEY, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: No, I thought it was fun. This was a great night. What I liked about tonight is we finally got to the distinction on a number of key issues.

Immigration being one. Mayor Giuliani thinks that immigration is about crime. And of course we're concerned about illegal immigrants who are criminals but that is not the issue. The issue is jobs and the rule of law in this country, and 12 million illegal immigrants. He said they were welcome if they were undocumented in New York. That is something which is going to stand out.

COLMES: You presided over, as was pointed out tonight, sanctuary cities, Cambridge ...

ROMNEY: I didn't preside over them. Bologna.

COLMES: Those were on your own front line, governor.

ROMNEY: Are you saying that Governor Pataki is responsible for Mayor Giuliani's sanctuary city?

COLMES: Who takes responsibility, then?

ROMNEY: The governors do not enforce the federal law on cities. As governor, in this case, in my case, I did. Because I got our state police authorized to enforce the law in our sanctuary cities and non-sanctuary cities. So I did take action. That is the distinction. And really, looking forward, the question is, will the mayor support the ending of sanctuary cities? I want to cut back federal funding. He does not. Will he say that people who come here illegally are going to be able to have — as he says, “If you work here and you pay taxes here, we'll sign you up.” I disagree. That's amnesty.

COLMES: You also talked about building a wall, you came in very much in support of that tonight. Spending a lot of money on protecting the border. You also talked about lowering taxes. How do you continue the surge, continue the war, continue fighting the war on terror, build a multi-billion dollar wall, and talk about lowering taxes all in the same breath?

ROMNEY: Well, the wall is a very small cost ...

COLMES: Billions of dollars.

ROMNEY: Compared to our federal budget and the trillions that we have, the wall is a very small cost and the burden that is associated with illegal immigration far away justifies building that wall. We have to stop illegal immigration so that we can welcome legal immigrants and we can manage our own system to bring in the people we need for our workforce. Legal immigration is great for America. Illegal immigration is not.

COLMES: How are you going to pay for it, though? They are saying the wall will cost three to four times even what has been projected.

ROMNEY: The wall is nothing. There are bigger elements. The big ones, of course, are Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, and I have a budget box. Everything I look at spending I match against revenues that are coming in. The truth of the matter is that our economy grows in part by reducing the taxes we take away from individuals and allow them to save their money going forward. I was happy I got that out during the debate as well.

SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: Governor, good to see you. Welcome back to ‘Hannity & Colmes.’ One of the tougher questions came from Carl Cameron was in the diner about the comparison that you had made. But you apologized and the day after.

ROMNEY: When you do as I have in Iowa and New Hampshire, 462 events, now and then you're going to say something you don't mean. And right afterwards, I said, “This isn't what I meant. That is not what I meant.” And look, my boys are working for me. They are not working for the United States. There is no comparison.

HANNITY: I have some sympathy because I am on the air for four hours a day.

ROMNEY: Now and then you say something you say, oops, that was a mistake. I didn't mean that. There is no comparison, obviously. Anyone who thinks there is a comparison would be nutty. And all I can say is that is not what I meant and I apologized for that.

HANNITY: The other issue that came up sort of was a little battle that came up between you and Senator McCain. It was over this issue. You said the surge is apparently working. And you believe it's working and you believe that General Petraeus in his report next week is going to affirm that point.

ROMNEY: It was not much of a battle. I am just obviously holding out until we hear from General Petraeus. I have not been to Iraq for a year. I cannot say firsthand whether it is working fully or it is not working fully. I see the good news reports. I am pleased. I think we are going to see the surge being successful. I certainly hope so. But I am glad Senator McCain — as I recall, he made a statement several months ago saying that it was safe in Baghdad. That turned out to be a little premature. I want to wait and make sure we get the report from General Petraeus.

HANNITY: You have been more willing than some of the other candidates to point out some of the distinctions in your positions. Like your challenging Mayor Giuliani tonight on the issue of sanctuary cities. Some of the distinctions with the other candidates on immigration and some other issues here. Are the Republicans now firing too much at themselves? Is that a natural evolution and maybe not paying attention to Senator Edwards and Senator Obama and Senator Clinton and the distinctions there?

ROMNEY: There was not as much firepower that went their way. I got a couple of lines in on the Democrats. But I think it is appropriate in a debate among Republicans to talk about differences on issues where we have distinctions. I think if you look at the debate, you are going to find that people were not disrespectful or not abusive of them in any shape or form.

People were courteous and showed a level of grace that I think you would expect among people in the same party. And so I do not think that is in anyway a call to say that we should not talk about differences when we have them on issues.

HANNITY: You were asked a question about abortion and the issue of you think Roe v. Wade should be overturned.

ROMNEY: Yeah.

HANNITY: But you accept that America was in a different place right now. I wanted you to expand on that a little bit more in terms of what your opinion was.

ROMNEY: Well, it is actually almost word for word what the president has said on the same topic. And that is he was asked what do you think about the Republican platform? He was asked what do you think about the Republican platform and an amendment that would make abortion illegal in all 50 states. And he said that is a nice aspiration but that's not where America is right now.

We would welcome that kind of a circumstance but that's just not where we are. And that is why, as a pro-life Republican, I am in favor of having the Supreme Court overturn Roe v. Wade.

HANNITY: Let the states decide.

ROMNEY: And as they overturn Roe v. Wade, they would return to the states the right to make that decision.

COLMES: We've got to run. You are going to appoint justices who will overturn Roe v. Wade and make that a litmus test.

ROMNEY: You cannot have a litmus test. But you can appoint justices that follow the Constitution and if they do that they'll overturn Roe v. Wade.

COLMES: Governor, thanks very much for being along with us.

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