THE FIVE

Mitt Romney marches toward GOP nomination

Pivotal victory speech for presumptive presidential nominee?

 

This is a rush transcript from "The Five," April 25, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

DANA PERINO, CO-HOST: Mitt Romney gave what I believe was a pivotal speech in the 2012 campaign after essentially sealing the Republican nomination last night. The governor went straight at President Obama on what's going to be the defining issue in November: the economy.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Because he has failed, he will run a campaign of diversions and distractions and distortions. That kind of campaign may have worked at another place, and at a different time, but not here and not now. It's still about the economy and we're not stupid.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PERINO: I see bumper stickers. Greg, you love a one-liner. What did you think of the speech last night?

GREG GUTFELD, CO-HOST: I thought it was great despite not seeing it.

(LAUGHTER)

GUTFELD: But I have to say, it's true, I was out drinking. But I heard it was great. And then I saw some of the clips here and there.

Here's the thing, I really believe that he's got to start focusing on restoring the glory of America. I actually wrote some on a cocktail napkin, some things I would use if I was running for president.

My first would be this -- Greece should be a musical, not our future.

No more bowing. I think that could go on a shirt.

Exceptionalism accepted here. Don't you like that one?

PERINO: I like that one.

KIMBERLY GUILFOYLE, CO-HOST: I love it.

GUTFELD: And this is my favorite, because it speaks to the real message of exceptionalism. We're America, remember?

But I have to say that Romney has to make something clear. He is not running against one opponent. He is running against several. It's like when Batman would have to fight the Joker and there were all the henchmen with turtlenecks and they'd say henchmen number one? That's the media.

So, Obama is going to come out and he's going to have all the Batman henchmen in their turtlenecks. And Romney is going to have to fight them all.

PERINO: You're going to see them on Saturday night.

GUILFOYLE: I'm looking forward to it

GUTFELD: Well, I invited you.

PERINO: I think he showed some strength last night. And that, Eric, he says, basically, Romney is saying when President Obama will not talk about his record on the economy, I will. And what did you make of it?

ERIC BOLLING, CO-HOST: Yes. I thought it was fantastic speech. That was the most important thing. Romney is bringing it back to the economy, because that's where he'll win. He won't win on the likability and President Obama, you know, going on talk shows. He'll win if he stays on the economy.

Later in that speech, he talked about fairness. Now, remember when as soon as it looked like it was going to be Romney, the White House -- Obama campaign started talking about the dog, remember the 28-year-old dog story?

PERINO: Yes.

BOLLING: And the Romney campaign came back and said, well, you know, if President Obama ate dog also, he said in his book. The fairness part of the speech last night sounds like Romney saying, let's bring this back.

Let's talk about fairness because we win, the right, or Romney, we win on fairness. Because what's fair about 47 percent of the American households not paying tax?

PERINO: I've got the clip actually. I want to run it and then get some reaction from it because what I like about the speech last night, because I thought it was dignified, gracious and the tone was good. That he can mock President Obama and not being mean.

Here is -- let's listen to him on fairness last night.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: We will stop the unfairness of urban children being denied access to the good schools of their choice. We will stop the unfairness of politicians giving taxpayer money to the friend's businesses. We will stop the unfairness of government workers getting better pay and benefits than the very taxpayers they serve. We will stop the unfairness of one generation passing larger and larger debt to the next.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PERINO: That's the part you like there.

BOLLING: I love every part of that. It brings the message home. Also, the unfairness of the Obama bundlers getting green energy loans. And that last one there -- he talked about second to the last one, where if you work for the fed, if you're a federal employee, you make 36 percent more than the same exact job in the private sector. If he hits on that, if Romney stays on that, he wins.

PERINO: What do you think, Juan, last night? Effective speech?

JUAN WILLIAMS, CO-HOST: You know, he is working on sort of sharpening the message and I think it's very difficult for him right now. He's got to absolutely hone a message so that he is conveying to the American people the message, the key message that there is a problem here. That he thinks that the president is not up to the game. That he is not sufficiently competent, especially dealing with the economy.

I don't think that the message is ripe right now. You know, people say it's referendum on the president. I think, in fact, if you look a what the president has done in terms of ending the war in Iraq, Afghanistan, if you think about the president, you know, reviving the auto industry, if you think about the president saying something to Wall Street and trying to rein in some of those raiders --

PERINO: I think that's pretty thin gruel that he president is trying to run on.

WILLIAMS: I don't think it's thin gruel.

PERINO: We're going to talk about that in the B block.

WILLIAMS: I -- one thing I really do admire, I think we all should say, you know, he just won big-time yesterday. Hats off to Mitt Romney.

GUILFOYLE: Yes.

WILLIAMS: He is the nominee. That's the big news.

The second thing to say about Mitt Romney, you know, on the school choice issue, I just -- it couldn't touch my heart more than he cares. He speaks in terms of minority kids, urban kids. But you know what? I think there are a lot of white kids out there who could use better schools --

PERINO: Well, he said urban children being denied access to all the good schools of their choice.

Kimberly, let's listen to our own Brit Hume. And I want to get your reaction after that.

GUILFOYLE: OK, sure.

PERINO: Brit Hume talking about the speech.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BRIT HUME, FOX NEWS POLITICAL ANALYST: This election is going to be more about Obama than it's going to be about Romney. It is Obama's record that is on trial here. There's no question about that in my judgment. And people are going to ask themselves what was he elected to do. I don't know that he knows it to this day.

He was elected to fix the economy. That is the issue that made the difference starting in September of 2008 when he was down in the polls, was Obama. He was elected to fix the economy. The economy remains unfixed.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PERINO: Kimberly --

GUILFOYLE: A great point.

PERINO: -- people are having this debate of whether it's a choice election or a referendum election. I actually think people are going to make a different choice because it is referendum on the record. I don't see why it can be both. Do you think that's what Brit was saying there?

GUILFOYLE: I think it can be both. And when you focus on something that's very important, which is the economy and jobs, the American family is out there. Everybody can relate in terms of what's going on with the economy. It doesn't matter whether you're a wealthy, upper class, middle class, or the poor people, it touched everyone.

What I like about Mitt last night was that he was very positive, that he focused and highlighted on the economy, a better America starts tonight. And I think people are going to be surprised at the momentum, some of the energy and the positivity of his message. Last night, I feel that speech was directed strongly at independents. This affects conservative and as well, a moderate Democrat.

PERINO: Eric, I thought there was something interesting about -- recently, we talked about President Obama speeches that are taxpayer-funded speeches. He's going to be campaigning from here on out. So, I guess we're going to have to get over that. I think that the White House is crossing a line.

But in some of the language that he's used lately, in an official speech, he's talking about the flat earth society, social Darwinism, the Republicans' reign of terror, how Republicans want to basically keep down autistic and Down syndrome children, the fake war on women.

I think that the difference between what Obama has been saying out on the trail and what Romney said last night could not have been more stark.

BOLLING: You know why this is happening -- remember in 2008, President Obama out-spent -- out-raised and out-spent John McCain by three to one?

PERINO: Yes.

BOLLING: It's $750 million to $250 million -- a billion dollar campaign -- billion dollar presidential campaign. This year seems different. Everyone thought that Obama is going to raise a billion dollars. It doesn't look like it's going to be that way. I get an e-mail every day saying you can have dinner with me, President Obama, and George Clooney if you just donate.

GUILFOYLE: You keep forwarding those.

BOLLING: But that, they're trying to raise money. I think the surprise is that Romney may actually out-raise President Obama.

WILLIAMS: No, no, no. It will never happen. But I'll tell you what will happen, the super-PACs are going to outraise the Obama super PAC, and they're pouring money in already.

BOLLING: Why wouldn't that count?

WILLIAMS: I said it does count. But you asked if Romney's campaign is going to outraise Obama's campaign.

BOLLING: I mean super PACs.

GUILFOYLE: If you aggregate the funds in support of a candidate --

(CROSSTALK)

WILLIAMS: You know what's interesting to me and sitting here with you, guys, I'm curious about your response, I am amazed, although he swept the field last night, you still see 30, in some cases, 40 percent of conservatives not voting for Romney. I mean, what is going on?

BOLLING: That speech last night may change.

WILLIAMS: Well, I hope so. But where is Rick Santorum? Where is Newt Gingrich?

BOLLING: Juan, he hit on conservative points and also that speech will be a fundraiser.

PERINO: That's why I say it was pivotal moment, it's a different speech.

GUILFOYLE: I agree.

PERINO: Because even though some people will quibble will this, we talked about this earlier, this moment in the speech was a good one. I want Greg's reaction after this. It was about exceptionalism and not apologizing for America.

GUTFELD: I don't want to do it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: We will talk the days of apologizing for success at home and never again apologize for America abroad.

(APPLAUSE)

ROMNEY: You see, we believe in America. We believe in ourselves. Our greatest days are ahead. We are after all Americans.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PERINO: I think the enthusiasm of voters who are against President Obama, that their aversion to him is actually stronger than anything that they might have been concerned about regarding Romney's conservatism and they'll come out to vote in November.

And that is one of the reasons is we want America to be the America we remember.

GUTFELD: Yes, it's the idea of getting back to work. I mean, we used to be a shining city on the hill, and now, we're condo rented out by a wealthy Chinese couple. I mean, that's what America has become.

There's so much many things we can't do anymore. We can't grow an economy. You can't finance your home. You can't pay for a decent education.

We can't go to the moon. We can't educate our kids. And we can't stay we're great anymore -- which is what in the way was about exceptionalism.

WILLIAMS: Wait a minute. You're giving me a headache. You're making my head hurt.

GUTFFELD: I'm trying --

(CROSSTALK)

WILLIAMS: You guys are supposed to pump America and talk about America, the great country.

GUTFELD: That's what I'm saying.

GUILFOYLE: That's what we're saying.

WILLIAMS: And all you're doing is putting down America. America is a great country.

GUTFELD: I'm saying that's what he's got to say. We got to return to restore our glory.

WILLIAMS: America is still the place to live in the world. People still want to come here, people want to do business here.

PERINO: One of the best line --

WILLIAMS: And, by the way, let me just say, talk about a phony political argument. This business that somehow President Obama goes around and apologizing for America, PolitiFact, everybody has said it's bogus.

BOLLING: His first speech as president apologized for the American exceptionalism and the way we do business.

PERINO: We're going to wrap it up here, but I want to say that one of the best lines of the speech last night was when Romney said, "And I would be the kind of president that would celebrate your achievements, not attack you for them." Good speech.

(CROSSTALK)

GUTFELD: If only you were more like that, Dana.

PERINO: I know. I'm going to attack Greg in the break.

(LAUGHTER)

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