Interviews

Romney: Last chance to pass judgment on Obama agenda

Former presidential candidate on midterm races

 

This is a rush transcript from "Your World," November 3, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: It's amazing what can happen in the final hours of a campaign, right?

Well, despite this dustup, Democrats are sounding confident they will hold on to the Senate. Is Governor Mitt Romney just as confident?

The governor with me moments ago.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CAVUTO: Governor Romney, welcome.

It's always good to have you.

MITT ROMNEY, R-FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thanks, Neil.

CAVUTO: We're getting indications today, sir, the White House is very confident it will keep Democrats in charge of the Senate.

Do they know something you don't?

ROMNEY: no, they don't look at any polls different than the ones that the people across America are looking at.

And what they're trying to do, of course, is to perfume the pig. The reality is that the Democrats are going to lose a lot of seats in the Senate, a lot of seats in the House, a lot of seats in legislatures and governorships across the country. They're going to lose big time in the elections tomorrow.

And they're trying to say, oh, but -- but the Republicans may not get the control of the Senate. Well, that's hard to predict at this point. Whether we do or we don't, we're going to pick up a lot of seats, five, six, seven. Time will tell exactly what the number is that, and that will depend on turnout.

CAVUTO: All right, well, if you get any less than six, many in the media - - and you know the media will immediately say, well, it's a disappointment. If this were any kind of year for the Republicans to gain control of the Senate, this were the year. So it would be seen as a failure.

Do you agree with that?

ROMNEY: Well, I actually think we are going to get the Senate. But, look, I don't have a crystal ball. I can't be entirely accurate in predicting at this stage who all is going to turn out to vote state by state.

There are a lot of races that are very, very close and turnout will make the difference.

But I -- but I do think that we're going to pick up a lot of seats and picking up, whether it's four, five or six seats in each case, that's a big win. And the same thing in the House.

We're going to pick up a lot of seats in the House.

This is a victory and I think a complete rejection of the Obama administration's agenda.

This really is, I think, Neil, really, the last chance for the American people to pass judgment on the Obama agenda. And they are doing so -- and they're doing so very clearly across the country.

CAVUTO: You know, Governor, you proved to be the most requested politician to stump on behalf of candidates in your party than any other, in fact, almost than any other combined.

And I'm wondering if, in this potential kingmaker role, whether that goes back to Richard Nixon in 1966. He accumulated a lot of chits in that election for a future White House run, so, too, Ronald Reagan in 1970. And I think you know where -- where I'm going here.

Would that be very tempting for you then, knowing that you had a big hand in electing a lot of Republicans who clearly wanted you to be the guy to put them over the top?

ROMNEY: Well, let me tell you, Neil, why I'm doing this.

First of all, I care very deeply about the direction of the country. That's why I ran for president in the first place.

And, secondly, there are a lot of people out there who helped me who really went to work to help me in 2012. And I figure I owe -- in a lot of these races, there are some folks, in some cases, that are kind of way behind, but I'm still going to show up and campaign for them because they really helped me.

In other cases, these are battleground states where we're right at the razor's edge of victory, and I'm hoping that my effort will maybe pick up a few votes here or there.

So this is about 2014. And, as to 2016, you know, you've heard me say before. I'm not running. I'm not planning on running. This is about getting a new course for this country with the election that happens tomorrow.

CAVUTO: I hear what you're saying, Governor.

Nevertheless, when I had the pleasure of speaking with your wife not too long ago, she was the one, when I asked if Jeb Bush decided not to run, would you?

She said, well, we'll just have to see, won't we, Neil?

Now, many read a lot into that. And she tried to be more emphatic later on to say there was no intention of another Romney run.

Is it unequivocal on your part, no matter who's in or out of this race, you're out, period?

ROMNEY: You know, I've learned if I change any words whatsoever on this topic, it becomes a whole story in and of itself. And so I have learned to say this time and again, which is, I'm not running. I'm not planning on running. I anticipate I'm going to be out working for our nominee. I don't know who that will be.

We've got 10 or 15 people looking at the race. And we're -- we're getting ready to help one of them.

CAVUTO: Do you think that this past week, Chris Christie hurt himself with the infamous "shut up" comment?

ROMNEY: You know, I think that was -- was unfortunate.

I think it -- it cast Chris in a light which -- which is not the way he'd like to be seen. But I didn't hear what the other guy was saying. So it's -- it's hard for me to know how offensive it may have been. But, you know, these are -- these are times when a lot of people are under a lot of stress. And I'm just hoping that we can concentrate on the '14 race and get some good folks elected that can take the country in a new direction.

CAVUTO: Maybe so, but for the life of me, I never remember you once telling anyone to shut up, even me.

ROMNEY: I'm afraid you're right. I -- I may have done that in my own home once or twice, much to my regret, and -- and been called on the carpet by my sons, who would have said, daddy, that's a bad word.

(LAUGHTER)

CAVUTO: Sarah Palin was blasting your comments about looking at immigration reform, saying that that was blanket amnesty. She went on to say, where the heck have these GOP establishment types -- referring to you -- been during this election season, that any -- that any reform that you're talking about would be akin to blanket amnesty.

You say what?

ROMNEY: Well, actually, when we talk about immigration reform, I'm talking about securing the border and making sure we do secure the border.

And then, number two, I think we have to move on to say what are we going to do about the people that are here illegally?

And, number three, we have to say, ultimately, are we going to make the system for coming here legally more transparent so that people don't have to have lawyers -- hire lawyers to -- to be able to come here legally?

We're going to have to change our immigration system. I'd like to see us bring in more people that have high levels of skill and education. I'd like to see us stopping the flow of illegal immigrants. And I think those are postures which people across the political spectrum can agree upon.

CAVUTO: Your comments -- because this isn't the first time -- bother -- because it comes at a time when here you were campaigning throughout Alaska with Ted Cruz, of all people, a now and then critic of yours, who thinks that the greater party good is to help the greater party nominee.

What do you say?

ROMNEY: Well, I think you've seen Republicans across the country come together. I'm in Alaska today, here campaigning with Dan Sullivan. Ted Cruz has been here. Rand Paul has been here. I'm obviously here.

You've seen Republicans all come together. We recognize how important this is for changing the direction of the country.

Does every Republican agree on every issue? Of course not. And -- and there will be debates amongst us as we consider the road ahead.

But we won't be able to have a new road ahead if the Democrats are able to hold onto the Senate. And it's my hope that they -- that they're not able to do so.

CAVUTO: Do you think -- I mean, I had Jack Welch on this weekend talking about the next campaign.

And while speaking very highly of you, he said that maybe there should be some thought given to the Ted Cruzes or dynamic up-and-coming members in the party, because establishment types, whether that's a label you liked or not -- he was referring to guys like you. He was referring to guys like Chris Christie, even Jeb Bush -- just won't -- will not be able to -- to do it, to carry Republicans to the White House.

Leaving yourself out of this, as you just did, what do you think of that argument, that going to the tried and true, I guess, for lack of a better term, mainstream candidates, Governor, isn't going to cut it?

ROMNEY: Well, I think the term mainstream is a better term than establishment, because there are a lot of people who are mainstream candidates who maybe never even won a race before. And they're thinking of looking at the presidential race or people who just won one race and looking at the race.

But -- but their views represent the largest number of Republican voters.

You know, there's an alternative, which is to say let's -- let's go for someone who represents a small show -- share of the Republican voters. I don't think that's real likely to be as successful as if you have as broad a tent as possible.

But, you know, we're going to get a chance to hear the different voices. And, ultimately, I think most people will make a decision based upon whose policies and whose vision they agree with. And whether that's one part of the party or another, time will tell.

CAVUTO: You know, Governor, Joni Ernst has said, in Iowa, that if she did make it to the Senate, she wasn't so sure that she would elect Mitch McConnell as the Republican leader, whether in a minority or a majority capacity.

Others have said something similar. And Democrats, to be fair, said that about whether they would make Harry Reid their leader.

What do you think is going on here, and particularly among Republicans, what the concern might be with Mitch McConnell?

ROMNEY: I can't begin to -- to survey all the Republicans in the Senate to know where they will line up behind leadership.

I -- I expect that if we see a very successful Tuesday night and you see Republicans picking up a lot of seats, even not just the majority, but any more than just the majority, that people will have to tip their -- their hand and say, wow, you know, Mitch McConnell did quite a job in helping organize a lot of this.

But, you know, that's for them to decide, that meaning the members of the Senate, as to who they think could do the best job in shepherding through legislation.

Look, if we win the Senate -- and I know that's an uncertain thing -- but if we win the Senate, the American people are going to look to see whether Republicans actually can get the job done. And -- and we're going to have to show that we have ideas on immigration, securing the border, that we have ideas as well on tax reform, on jump-starting the economy, that we also are going to pass legislation to try and fix Obamacare, so, for instance, people can keep the insurance they were promised they could keep.

These kinds of things, they're going to want to see come from a Republican House and a Republican Senate. And even though we're unlikely to have 60 seats, I think you're going to see Republicans able to -- to find consensus with some Democrats and get this kind of legislation moved forward.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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