OTR Interviews

Romney: 'Inevitable' momentum returns with Illinois win but ghost of 'Romneycare' looms

Will Mitt Romney regain momentum in White House race after the Illinois primary?


This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," March 20, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Illinois congressman Aaron Schock is at Governor Mitt Romney's campaign headquarters. Congressman Schock joins us.

Good evening, sir.

REP. AARON SCHOCK, R-ILL.: Greta, good to be with you.

VAN SUSTEREN: And obviously, this is a big night for your candidate. Can you give me some sort of reflection on it? I know that you're very because you're a Governor Romney supporter. But turnout's been down.

SCHOCK: Well, I'll tell you what. Tonight was a fantastic night in the land of Lincoln, the place that knows Barack Obama better than anyone. We know what it's going to take to defeat him, come November. and we know we want the strongest candidate possible.

When you look at the numbers out of Illinois, it's phenomenal for Mitt Romney in the fact that he didn't just win, there are four candidates in this race and he got about 50 percent of the vote, so about half of the voters in Illinois, with four candidates in the race. That was a tremendous turnout for him, and it shows also a good cross-section of the demographic.

I'm from downstate, I'm not from Chicago. And we had them down in Peoria, in the heartland, yesterday. Rick Santorum had a rally, had a couple hundred people there. Mitt Romney had a rally, had a couple thousand people there.

So the trend is definitely going his way. You saw in Puerto Rico, 80 percent of the people voted for Governor Romney there. Over half the people, it looks like, are going to have voted for Mitt Romney here in Illinois. I definitely think the momentum's on his side.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, if he is the nominee, chances are he's going to get buried night after night with ads about the health care in Massachusetts. How would you expect him to respond to against the President Obama campaign? How is he going to get around the fact that it's very unpopular, that Massachusetts health care, with Republicans?

SCHOCK: Well, look, the fact of the matter is, as much as the president may try to subscribe "Obamacare" to Governor Romney, it is night and day. Look, "Obamacare" is the only health care law passed in this land that cuts health care for seniors by a half billion dollars. "Obamacare" is the only health care bill that raises taxes on nearly every American and every business in America.

And Mitt Romney has stated over and over again that on day 1, he will issue a waiver to all 50 states in the country so that not just the politically connected friends of Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama don't have to subscribe to this health care law, but every state and every individual can have that same waiver, as well.

VAN SUSTEREN: I think what a lot of people, though, in your party are upset about is the mandate. And it's -- you know, he defended the mandate in Massachusetts. I mean, he signed it into law. So how does he -- I mean, so that Barack -- President Barack Obama's campaign is going to come at him on this whole issue of the mandate because he's gone after the president on the mandate.

So -- so how do you -- how do you explain that -- how do you respond to that?

SCHOCK: Well, quite frankly, that's not what I've been busy talking about. I'll leave that up to Mitt Romney. I mean, at the end of the day, I think he's done a great job in this primary distinguishing himself in what he did with health care reform in Massachusetts.

Mind you, he had an 85 percent Democratic house and senate. What he introduced is not ultimately what the legislature passed, but it's night and day in comparison to "Obamacare."

At the end of the day, Greta, though, people are worried about 25 million people out of work. They're worried about the infringement on our freedoms and the ability for our economy to recover.

And there's no one who honestly believes that a -- that a -- that a law professor and a bureaucrat, life-time bureaucrat, is going to turn this economy around. He's had three years to do it, done a terrible job. Our economy's gotten worse. We need a proven job creator and a businessman. And that's why Republicans want to nominate Mitt Romney.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, what's -- part of the thinking is, though, is that -- from the Republican side of the ledger, is that the economy is doing poorly because of health care costs and that the -- President Obama's national health care law is one of -- is going to create a bigger burden on our system.

But the system does mirror what he advocated in Massachusetts. So I think you're even going to have to deal with it not only on the question of mandate, but the fact that some -- you know, that he's going to come in as president and said he's going to try to write it away with an executive order, but he's still got to defend what he did in Massachusetts. He's still going to get hit with that.

SCHOCK: Well, you're right, Greta. And you know what? He's had to deal with this issue in Iowa. He's had to deal with this issue in Illinois. He had to deal with the issue in Puerto Rico. And quite frankly, I think he's as been doing a pretty good job dealing with the issue.

This economy's hurting not just because of "Obamacare," in large part because of "Obamacare," but also because of a Christmas list a mile long of bad regulations. One new EPA regulation, one new NLRB ruling over and over and over, a jab in the heart to the economy that we're trying to get to recover.

That's the kind of disconnect between a bureaucrat versus a businessman in terms of understanding what our economy needs to get the economy going again and create a framework, rules of the game, so that businessmen and women, entrepreneurs are willing to take the risks and create the jobs. They're the people can turn the economy around, not more federal spending and not new regulation, which has been the president's game plan.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, Congressman, thank you very much. Obviously, a huge night in the state of Illinois for Governor Mitt Romney, an important one, as well. And it's on to Louisiana. Thank you, sir.

SCHOCK: The party's over early, but we'll take it.