A Mitt Romney Teleconference

I just got off of a blogger teleconference with Mitt Romney. I wanted to ask a question, but didn’t get a chance to do so (The teleconference was heavily attended). Here are my notes — not quotes — from the teleconference.

Opening Statement

I think Hillary has won 4 and Barack has won 2, but the media says it’s wide open on the Democratic side. It’s even more wide open on our side. 7 contests. Huck won 1, McCain and I won 3. McCain just won Florida on an endorsement from Charlie Crist and his big lie about my supporting a pull-out of troops from Iraq.

Still, it’s now a 2 person race and Huckabee is just taking votes from me in what is a battle for the soul of the Republican party. We have had these battles before. Ron Reagan vs. Gerald Ford in 1976, for example. We chose the insider and we lost. The cost was Jimmy Carter and 4 years of malaise. I am not saying I am Reagan in that example and I like Gerald Ford, but, it’s still a similar race.

McCain is a Washington insider vs. an outsider who has brought change. There are also great differences between our positions. McCain-Feingold is a disaster. I would repeal it if I could. McCain still likes it. It took money from the parties and put them in the hands of 527s. McCain/Kennedy is an amnesty bill. He still supports that. He is the author of McCain/Leiberman, which would impose a burden of 50 cents per gallon and 20 percent utility rate increases to reduce greenhouse gasses. But, when only one nation participates, businesses will be driven to other countries where they will continue to produce greenhouse gasses. So, it won’t even work. He also voted against the Bush tax cuts.

In a race versus Clinton or Obama, McCain is the candidate of the past while I am the candidate of the future. That’s why we will have a very difficult time winning the White House if McCain is the nominee.

The Question And Answer Session

It took you a while to buy ads in Super Tuesday states. Why is that?

Well, it was only 24 hours. We had to see how the race would change with our losing Florida and Giuliani dropping out and endorsing McCain before we made a decision about ad buys.

Do you think anything will be decided Tuesday? Where will you do best?

It could end Tuesday, but I don’t think it will. How we will do in certain states varies. It’s a complicated matrix.

We have been pleasantly surprised that the leading conservative lights in our party are endorsing me. When Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham say they are endorsing me, it means something. Rush Limbaugh and Michael Reagan have been going after McCain. No endorsement, but I think they support me. National Review endorsed me. I think the MSM will underestimate their influence, which will be powerful.

These guys who endorsed me, they get nothing back. Some of these politicians who endorse have different reasons. For example, one politician I talked to told me he would wait to see who looked likely to win and then he would endorse that person.

Voters seem to be choosing the candidate who they believe will be best for economy. How is McCain beating you with those people?

In Florida, for example, the Crist endorsement was a big factor, but it’s hard to say. McCain is not experienced in the economy. He would need to get a veep who is. The economy is not his strong suit. This is not the guy to lead the economy. He talks about punishing Wall Street. He does not understand how the economy works. He has said he does not. His answers and McCain/Leiberman prove he doesn’t understand the economy. He doesn’t even understand his bill will hurt America.

You have talked a lot about the deficit and how it is caused by deficit spending, but your robocalls in Florida attacked McCain for opposing more Medicare spending. Why did you do that?

I would have also opposed the Medicare Part D reform, just like McCain did. So, we’re on the same side. I didn’t know that robocall went out and it won’t happen again. (Hawkins’ Note: This has gotten a lot of press and it’s an attack put out by the Romney campaign. I am amazed that Romney claims he didn’t know about it because that is almost certainly not true).

We hear a lot of talk about Iraq. It will probably be settled in the next few years. What comes next?

We will continue to see flare-ups in Pakistan. Iraq will be easier to solve than Afghanistan. Their infrastructure, economy is so far behind. We need to get the NATO nations to come together to crush Al-Qaeda everywhere in the world. We have to organize this on a comprehensive, global basis. Also, Senator McCain’s false accusation against me, that I would pull the troops out, has been completely discredited.

Summary: I’s great that Mitt took the time to get together with the blogosphere and I really enjoyed hearing his perspective. I will say that I was a little surprised that he made so many attacks on McCain. Not that McCain doesn’t deserve it, he does, but Mitt spent almost as much time attacking McCain as he did talking about why people should vote for him. Also, the whopper Mitt told about not being aware of his own campaign’s robocalls really stood out. Still, all in all, it was very nice to hear from Mitt and I wish him all the luck in the world on Super Tuesday.

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