April 2nd, 2009
10:38 AM ET
5 years ago

Romney: Obama 'will not always be wrong'

Romney is a possible 2012 contender.
Romney is a possible 2012 contender.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is “keeping active politically,” according to an aide, and on Wednesday his busy travel schedule brought him to Washington to help raise money for Senate Republicans hoping to gain leverage against President Obama in the 2010 mid-term elections.

But in a speech to a fundraising dinner for the National Republican Senatorial Committee that raised over $2 million, Romney often struck a bipartisan tone in front a crowd that might have been expecting a heavy dose of rally-the-troops conservatism.

“I also think its important for us to nod to the president when he’s right,” Romney said, after chiding the president’s budget. “He will not always be wrong, and he’s done some things I agree with.”

Romney said he’s pleased with the president’s plans to “finish the job” in Iraq and Afghanistan – lines that drew cheers from the GOP audience - and he applauded the president for standing up to the auto industry.

“I hope he continues to be tough and shows some backbone because that industry is not going to make it unless we have real backbone and get those guys to fundamentally restructure all of their obligations,” said Romney, who could challenge Obama for the presidency in 2012.

The former businessman even offered some faint praise for Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, saying that after a series of initial missteps, “I think he’s finally getting close to the right answer.”

Romney, speaking without notes or teleprompter, ultimately drew a familiar line in the sand between Democrats, who he said favor heavy-handed government, and Republicans, who prefer individual freedom and free enterprise. The language was reminiscent of his campaign stump speech from 2007 and 2008.

“I think the American people are seeing through what’s happening,” he said. “The Democrats are trying to use this crisis as a way to advance their philosophy of the supremacy of government, and I don’t think they’re being fooled.”

Romney claimed the president “incorrectly believes that the 2008 elections settled the great issues that divide America. I don’t believe that’s the case. I watched the debates. The great issues were rarely discussed at all.”

Twenty-six GOP senators attended the dinner, which was held at the Newseum and set under a massive projection screen bearing the slogan: “Republican senators vow to regain majority in 2010.”

Romney’s former rival for the Republican presidential nomination, John McCain, was not among those attending. Even though he’s up for re-election in 2010 and may need an assist from the NRSC, an aide to McCain said he was working late on his proposed alternative to the president's budget.


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soundoff (69 Responses)
  1. goobs

    Instead of worrying about 2010 and 2012, why don't the Republicans concentrate on 2009? I think we all know the answer they would give...NO!!!

    April 2, 2009 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  2. BDub

    Mitt Romney is the future of the GOP. How McCain beat him in the primaries, I will never understand. And I live in Arizona...

    Mitt has it all. Political experience and more importantly, BUSINESS experience.

    Before spewing hate, remember the federal governments job is to uphold the Constitution, not redistribute wealth and give people free anything. Only FREEDOM itself!

    April 2, 2009 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  3. Charles

    Romney is right, and the latest CNN polls prove it. A majority of the American people are getting nervous about Obama's spending.

    At the very least America will elect Republicans to serve in the House and Senate in 2010 to try to keep Obama and Pelosi in check. But if this trend keeps going this direction, Obama could lose to a fiscally conservative candidate, whether he/she is Republican or not.

    The farther the GOP gets from George W. Bush, and the more taxpayer money Obama spends, the closer the 2010/12 races will be.

    April 2, 2009 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  4. John

    Republicans: Against bi-partisanship until they were for bi-partisanship.

    April 2, 2009 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  5. Jackie in Dallas

    Well, I must say, Romney has it right. It is about time someone on the Republicn side admitted that President Obama isn't doing everything wrong! As sharply as I've criticized President Bush in the past, I've also agreed with some of what he did, and given credit where it was due. It is nice to see that happening, even slightly, on the GOP side, as well.

    I voted for Obama, but unlike the neocons who picture all of us who did as little lemmings or robots following orders, I did it after a lot of careful consideration and research. I haven't agreed with everything he has done as President, and I will continue to express my opinions, both positive and negative, toward him - as is my right as an American citizen.

    I will vote my conscience in future elections, just as I have for the last 38 years, since I became eligible to vote. I don't vote Party lines, I vote for an individual. I recommend it to more people, to come to the middle and reach out in an atmosphere of cooperation and compromise, rather than rant at each other from the radical ends of the political spectrum.

    April 2, 2009 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  6. M

    Wow- Mitt Romney is a savy bizness man but...I am confused the Republican party has too many different messages....

    April 2, 2009 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  7. Steve

    I am glad that someone in the Republican party, be it for selfish reasons or not, is at least trying to reconcile the party and not, pardon the irony, stick to the guns of the far right. Political parties have to adapt just like people and everything else in this world. And making your message more comparable to the overwhelming center of the country is the best way to do so. Now if we could only convince Romney that individual freedom includes the right to smoke pot.

    April 2, 2009 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  8. Bill/CA

    Romney's comments represent the kind of thinking the GOP will have to adopt if they want any chance in 2012. The public just sees them as the opposition party, criticizing and opposing anything Obama does. That will lead them to any success in 2010 or 2012. As for Romney's comments that Obama and the DNC are exploiting the current crisis to further their political philosophy, I disagree and would like to point out that it was Bush and the GOP doing the same thing for the 7.5 years after 9/11 that got us into this mess in the first place.

    April 2, 2009 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  9. levago

    Alvin:

    Mitt Romney is not praising Obama for bailing out the auto industry. He is praising Obama for finally showing some backbone and firing the GM CEO and hinting he's going to let the companies fail if they don't get on track.

    Romney is saying that Obama was soft on the auto industry before by bailing them out, but is finally realizing that bailing them out is not the answer. So don't blast Romney for being a flip-flopper on this issue before you understand the context of his comments.

    April 2, 2009 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  10. Michael in MN

    I agree with Romney that Republicans should acknowledge where they agree with Obama. And also take a stand where they disagree.

    The spending by Obama and the Congressional Democrats will bankrupt this country. Bush added 2.5 trillion to the nationa deficit, helped along by Democrats who were in control of the purse strings in 2007 and 2008. Now Obama and Congressional Democrats are down a path to add another 9.3 trillion. What Bush did does not even come close to what Obama is going to do. Obama will add nealy 4 times more to the national deficit than Bush did. This will bankrupt our Nation. We are not yet bankrupt, this will not be Bush's or the Republicans fault.

    April 2, 2009 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  11. Deborah

    "I think the American people are seeing through what’s happening,” he said. “The Democrats are trying to use this crisis as a way to advance their philosophy of the supremacy of government, and I don’t think they’re being fooled"

    The MSM is not reporting all the Tea Parties that are being held.....but we are awake and we will not let the Tyranny continue.

    April 2, 2009 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  12. Vince

    I think Romney bowed out of the last election because he knew Obama was unstoppable. He also knew that he he won the nomination, but lost against Obama, he would not have a shot at getting nominated again in 2012. By bowing out and giving McCain the nomination, he set himself up for a chance in 2012. Pretty smart move, if you ask me.

    April 2, 2009 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  13. Enough

    The Republican "vow" here still focuses too much on power. Based on Romney's past rhetoric against President Obama, I cannot trust another one of his sudden changes in positions. Mitt has shown he does that far too often towards political gain.

    For Romney to say "heavy government" vs. "individual freedoms" without recognizing the shortcomings of the GOP these past several years, it only shows Mitt has a long way to go before I can take him seriously, no matter how much newfound appreciation he suddenly shifted again.

    April 2, 2009 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  14. Perceptions

    Would love to see the smarest and most qualified guy in America become our next president in 2012 !!!!!

    Mitt Romney is pretty pragmatic and only wants to make America better.

    And he has the "proven" record in priviate, public, and non-profits to put together great teams that achieved great success

    April 2, 2009 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  15. Republican comedy

    Mitt Romney is only in agreement with Obama because he is the most popular guy in American politics right now.

    April 2, 2009 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  16. Individual freedom

    Republicans favor individual freedom? Was that a misspeak?

    April 2, 2009 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  17. Individual freedom

    I'm pretty sure Romney is confusing Republican for Libertarian.

    April 2, 2009 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  18. david, CA

    One REpub who recognizes the political need to find a small patch of common ground with an overwhelmingly popular president. Romney is saavy enough to know that the constant Obama bashing from the far right turns off most Americans. He's attempting to position himself as the moderate voice of the GOP. It's probably just a cynical ploy. Yet this may indicate a glimmer of hope for the GOP pulling out of it's tailspin.

    April 2, 2009 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  19. Arden

    I really want to believe that Romney means what he says. Its time that someone in the GOP show some "real " backbone.

    April 2, 2009 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
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