Eric Fehrnstrom on Romney's plans for a 'real recovery'

GOP nominee's senior campaign adviser speaks out


This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," October 3, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: Less than two-and-a-half hours from now, Governor Romney and President Obama will be on that stage. No "Grapevine" tonight so we can bring you more debate coverage. We just heard, as you know from Obama senior advisor Robert Gibbs. Now we're joined by Romney senior advisor Eric Fehrnstrom. Eric, thanks for being here.


BAIER: What does the governor need to do tonight?

FEHRNSTROM: I think tonight he's going to talk about the choice that faces American voters. It's a big choice with President Obama, me we can have four years like the last four year. With Governor Romney, we can put this country back on the path toward a real recovery, with more jobs and rising incomes for all Americans.

If you look back over the last four years and just be objective about it, you will see that we have fewer jobs, household incomes have gone down. We have record-breaking debt. We have more spending in Washington. We have raided Medicare to pay for ObamaCare. We just can't afford as a country to continue with the policies of the last four years. President -- Governor Romney has a plan to create 12 million jobs by the end of his first term in office. It will be a real recovery with more jobs and rising incomes for everyone.

BAIER: It's Wednesday. We have had three full days of experts saying what Governor Romney needs to do. Is he going to go on the offensive, is he going to take the attack to President Obama in this debate?

FEHRNSTROM: I think he's going to talk about those choices that I just described for you. We know what we're up against in this debate. Governor Romney is going up against the President of the United States. He's the incumbent; he represents the most powerful office in the world. He has substantial one-on-one debate experience. This will be his eighth one-on-one presidential level debate; it will be Mitt Romney's first. So he has an advantage but I think what people will see with Mitt Romney is a proven business leader, an executive who has real economy experience, who has led in different enterprises. He's led a state, which, by the way, when he took office was facing very similar economic circumstances to the circumstances that the nation finds itself in today.

BAIER: You've heard criticism from conservatives that you haven't taken the fight to all the charges that the Obama campaign leveled, including that middle class families will see taxes increase by $2,000.  There have been commercials in battleground states across the country that really went unanswered for months on end.

FEHRNSTROM: Well first, let me say that, politics is like sports. People follow it closely. They feel passionate about it. Everybody has an opinion. We welcome those opinions. But with respect to the governor's plans for tax reform, he has a plan, a pro-growth plan that will cut taxes for the middle class because he's going to allow them to save and invest tax-free.  Unlike President Obama, he has no plans to raise taxes. President Obama has raised taxes in this term and has plans to raise taxes in the next term. If he does that he is going to plunge us off the fiscal cliff and into another recession. This is why this choice facing the American people is so critical Bret.

BAIER: When you hear the Obama campaign and all these folks say, in interview after interview say we want specifics on how these loopholes are going to close and how you are going to pay for the $5 trillion in tax cuts, are we going to hear it tonight?

FEHRNSTROM: I think what you will hear from Governor Romney is the same thing we heard from President Reagan in 1986. In 1986, the last time we undertook substantial tax reform, President Reagan articulated his principles. He laid out the broad guidelines that would guide him in his negotiations with Congress. And we did something great for the American people back then. We pushed down rates, and that created economic expansion. That is exactly what Governor Romney wants to do. He wants to lower rates across the board. He will reduce the burden on the middle class by allowing them to save and invest tax free.

BAIER: In a revenue neutral way.

FEHRNSTROM: And for those at the upper end of the scale, we're going to get rid of some of their deductions and credits so that their share of the tax burden will not change, there'll be no tax break for upper income, but for the middle class -- those who have been affected most horribly by the last four years of this bad economy -- they will get a tax cut.

BAIER: I have 30 second left, I want you to respond. You heard Robert Gibbs about the Libya situation. Your take on the administration, and how that is going and will you jump on that?

FEHRNSTROM: Well, with all due respect to Robert I don't think he was being honest with you. I think what we're seeing is the unraveling of the Obama foreign policy. Overseas we have people attacking our embassies. We just saw our ambassador and three other Americans assassinated in a terrorist attack on the anniversary of 9/11. The Muslim Brotherhood has come to power in Egypt. Our friends in Israel have been set adrift. We have some serious problems. And the Obama response to these events raised more questions. Governor Romney believes in a strong foreign policy. It's why he's going to fight so hard to reverse those cuts to our defense budget which are due to take place under this president in the new year.

BAIER: Foreign policy, a different debate, probably not tonight. Eric, thanks so much for the time.

FEHRNSTROM: Thank you, Bret.

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