This is a rush transcript from "Your World," July 11, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
NEIL CAVUTO, HOST OF "YOUR WORLD": Now, imagine talking to a group where you know more than nine out of 10 in the audience don't much like you, or at least strongly prefer your opponent.
Imagine being Mitt Romney speaking to the NAACP today, let's just say not a solid Republican demographic.
Welcome, everybody. I'm Neil Cavuto.
And Barack Obama got 96 percent -- 96 percent -- of the African-American vote four years ago. He polls similarly strongly today. Enter Mitt Romney to say he would be a better presidential choice for them today.
That went surprisingly OK for him that is until Mitt Romney started ripping the president's health care law, then this:
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If our goal is jobs, we have to stop spending over $1 trillion more than we take in every year.
ROMNEY: And, so -- and, so, to do that, I'm going to eliminate every nonessential expensive program I can find. That includes ObamaCare. And I'm going to work to reform and save...
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAVUTO: All right, that -- that went well.
Then Mitt Romney with me, and only me, moments later fondly recalling that moment.
ROMNEY: I think we expected that, of course. But, you know, I'm going to give the same message to the NAACP that I give across the country, which is that ObamaCare is killing jobs.
And if jobs is the priority, then we're going to have to replace ObamaCare with something that actually holds down health care costs, as opposed to causing more spending for the government and more spending for American families.
CAVUTO: Obviously, that didn't sit well with everyone in that room, Governor. And, as you know, four years ago, Barack Obama got 96 percent of the black vote.
Do you expect to chip away on that?
ROMNEY: I do, actually. And I spoke with a number of African-American leaders after the event and they said, you know, a lot of folks don't want to say they will not vote for President Obama but they are disappointed in his lack of policies to improve our schools, disappointed in urban policy, disappointed in the economy, 14.4 percent rate of unemployment among African-Americans today.
The president has not been able to get the job done. People want to see someone who can get this economy going. So I expect to get African-American votes. And, by the way, at the end of my speech, having a standing ovation was -- was generous and hospitable on the part of the audience.
And I believe that while we disagree on some issues like ObamaCare, on a lot issues, people see eye to eye. They want someone who can get the economy going again.
CAVUTO: You know, Governor you had mentioned in the context of your remarks what your father had done as governor of Michigan, how he had obviously put civil rights not only within the Constitution of the state, but pushed hard to fight housing discrimination when he became a Cabinet secretary for Richard Nixon.
Many have turned that reflection around on your dad to your dad releasing his tax returns, and you not. And it's become this big battle back and forth. How do you feel about that? Do you feel a need that you should release more data to, at the very least, quiet critics down?
ROMNEY: You know the Democrats are always going to be critics.
We've of course released all of the financial statements that are required by law, and then released two years of tax returns. The most recent year, we'll be releasing as soon as that's prepared. So tax information is there. Other financial disclosure is there, the same information level that John McCain and John Kerry, for that matter, released when they were running for president.
So, they're always going to be after me for one thing or the other. But, you know, I know the president wants to talk about transparency. I'm glad that he wants to talk about transparency, because he has used executive privilege to prevent the American people from knowing the truth about what happened with the Fast and Furious program.
And that resulted in the loss of life of Americans. I think it's time for him to open up transparency and to do something which frankly is called upon by the American people to know what happened and get to the bottom of this very outrageous, scandalous activity.
CAVUTO: Maybe because the economy has been struggling, the president and Democrats in general have turned their attention to trying to make you the issue, maybe your wealth the issue, maybe your Bain Capital days the issue.
And a lot of your staunchest defenders, Governor, say you're not responding aggressively enough, that you're not espousing the virtues of private capital that it's not a risk like public tax money, but that you're not doing that. Are you waiting for the fall? Or are you just feeling that these arguments aren't worthy of counter?
ROMNEY: Well, I of course respond to the attacks that come.
But, you know, they say in politics, if you're responding, you're losing. I think the better course for our campaign is to respond to the attacks as being completely off-base. For instance, independent fact- checkers have found them to be false and misleading. We point that out. We put that out in ads as well. But perhaps, most importantly, every day I go out and give a speech, I talk about the issue people care about. And that is the failure of the president's policies to reignite this economy.
And I know there are all these attacks coming my way, but I saw with the Washington Post poll -- I think it was this morning -- showing that the president's support has not grown at all. Mine has not been diminished by his attacks. People -- people are really tired of this kind of petty attack that comes day in and day out from politicians like the president.
And they want to see someone who talks about the issues they care about, good schools and good jobs. The president wants to make this a campaign about attacking wealth. I want to make it a campaign about helping the middle class.
CAVUTO: Governor, you mentioned polls in The Washington Post and others. And there are so many ways to look at this, sir, but one that I found interesting, that among married voters, you're heavily favored 51- 38 percent, but among unmarried voters, the president has a 20-point lead.
Why do you think that is?
ROMNEY: Gee, I haven't seen that one, Neil. And there must be a reason for it. I just don't know what it is.
CAVUTO: A single person gave it to me. I have no idea why.
ROMNEY: Yes. Yes.
I don't know why that is. I expect that, by the time this campaign is over, whether you are single or married, black or white, Hispanic or non Hispanic, that you're going to recognize that the policies I proposed will do a better job helping Americans than the policies the president is following.
He has put us on a track where we're seeing chronic high levels of unemployment, no wage growth, and we're on track to becoming like -- like Europe, Italy, Spain, Greece, with fiscal calamity at the doorstep. That is not the course that the American people want.
And I think if I continue to make that -- that -- that message clear, boy, I'll get the support I need to become the president come November.
CAVUTO: Governor, President Obama made some news last night speaking to a -- I believe it was a Miami Spanish-language station, saying that Hugo Chavez of Venezuela posed no serious national threat to the United States.
What did you make of that?
ROMNEY: I was stunned by his comments and shocked by them.
This is Hugo Chavez. This is Venezuela. This is Chavez, who has invited Iran in, who's invited Hezbollah. Hezbollah, of course, being a surrogate and a proxy for Iran, would potentially have access to weapons that could be used against us.
This is -- this is Chavez, who championed the Bolivian Revolution movement and is spreading dictatorships and tyranny throughout Latin America. This is Chavez, who supports FARC and other terrorist activity in nations such like Colombia that are our friends.
The idea that this nation, that this president doesn't pose a national security threat to this country is simply naive. It's an extraordinary admission on the part of this president to be completely out of touch with what's happening in Latin America. Latin America is critical to America, to the United States of America. And the president needs to focus on what's happening there, what Chavez is doing, what the Castro's are doing. These are people who call for terrible acts against America. And to suggest that somehow this isn't important is I think a very misguided and misdirected thought on the part of our president.
CAVUTO: Governor, if I could switch gears a little bit, I do want to ask you, because I have heard rumors that you might make your running mate choice before the convention. Is that true?
ROMNEY: I can't tell you anything about the VP process, Neil. You know that. If I did, I'd have to...
ROMNEY: I would have to come after you with my "Men in Black" flashlight and try and erase your memory.
CAVUTO: But if -- for example, if someone has not been vetted yet, is it fair to say he or she is not being considered?
ROMNEY: I've got nothing for you, Neil. I have got nothing for you on the vice presidential process.
CAVUTO: He? She? He? She? How about that?
ROMNEY: We are working that very close to vest. You know, again, nothing means nothing.
CAVUTO: All right. Well, I tried.
Governor, thank you very much. It's always a pleasure. Be well.
ROMNEY: Thanks, Neil. Good to be with you.
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