April 2nd, 2009
10:38 AM ET
6 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. Diana NJ

    Thank God.. someone who hears and understands.. maybe the party has a chance .

    April 2, 2009 12:02 am at 12:02 am |
  2. Patti Thomas

    Romney, a republican with praise for Pres.OBAMA..oh I almost forgot that it is April fools day..let's not fall for the GOP trick..

    April 2, 2009 12:16 am at 12:16 am |
  3. barbara miller

    Too little/too late! Do you really think you're believable Mitt?

    April 2, 2009 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
  4. Peter TX

    about time someone makes sense in the GOP

    April 2, 2009 12:40 am at 12:40 am |
  5. Hopeful Optimist

    How is it that Repubs always try to paint the Dems as the 'Big Spenders' and yet they themselves are the very party that has bankrupted America by prosecuting needless wars. The entire sorry saga of the feeding frenzy by the Repubs during the Clinton years taught us one very concrete lesson: America WILL tolerate and even forgive most transgressions of a human and personal nature, but they absolutely will NOT tolerate hypocracy. You'd think the Repubs, if they learn nothing else, would learn this.

    April 2, 2009 12:42 am at 12:42 am |
  6. James A.

    I have commented before that Romney is probably the best person to have to lead the Republican Party. He is one out of a handful of traditional conservatives that can talk without infuriating people like me. The main thing that ruins the credibility of any individual or organization, regardless of affiliation, is an articulated philosophy that everything can be categorized as black or white, even when everyone intuitively knows that most everything falls somewhere in between the extremes. Mitt Romney has the wit and the political confidence to give the Devil his just dues when the Devil is right.

    April 2, 2009 12:47 am at 12:47 am |
  7. Susan

    Romney will never get my vote!

    April 2, 2009 12:48 am at 12:48 am |
  8. O

    I think Romeny shouldn't of dropped out. He would of been the perfect Republican Canidate. The Republicans should be taking Romeny's advise instead of Rush and his gang.

    April 2, 2009 01:24 am at 1:24 am |
  9. Ivan

    Romney will say and do anything to become President, even if it takes being on both sides of an issue.

    April 2, 2009 01:40 am at 1:40 am |
  10. xargaw

    I don't have a lot of confidence in the veracity of Mr. Romney, however, it is nice to hear a Republican actually admit that you don't have to be a GOP clone to have good ideas and good intentions.

    April 2, 2009 02:22 am at 2:22 am |
  11. Rob in Detroit Mi.

    Quit kissing up ,it's not going to get you the white house.

    April 2, 2009 02:36 am at 2:36 am |
  12. Dave C - NJ

    If Romney strays toweards the middle, then he could be a big challange to Obama in 2012.

    April 2, 2009 02:47 am at 2:47 am |
  13. Brian G, Sugar Land, TX

    Seriously, this is the first postive Republican statement I have heard in the first 100 days of Obama's administration. Kudos to Romney for having the intelligence to recognise nothing will get done if all the Republicans do is complain and throw stones.

    The American public doesn't want to hear continual political whining from the losers of the last election. Cooperation, compromise and commitment to Americans in both political directions are what we want and are necessary for usthe pulbic to regain respect for Congress.

    April 2, 2009 08:37 am at 8:37 am |
  14. Kevin in Ohio

    Romney is correct. Once in a while, Obama will be (and has been) right. Even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while.

    April 2, 2009 08:45 am at 8:45 am |
  15. army chick

    Is it always about winning the next election? I guess the GOP doesn't feel they have anything to do with fixing the economy.

    April 2, 2009 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  16. history?

    Romney is not really bipartison. He's actually really good at attacking the Dems regardless of pesky facts. I think McCain could have done a lot better and been taken more seriously with Romeny.

    I wouldn't have liked the GOP any better, but I think some on the edge would.

    Still, Romney and GOP live off of creating fear, and that is the part that I don't understand or agree with. We don't have to be afraid to act or believe. Ask your old hero Ronald Reagan. He stood up for America, he did not say "you have to be afraid."

    April 2, 2009 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  17. Sala

    That is the kind of talk expected from people who wish america well.Constructive criticism,well said there mitt,dont you think it will be great if chip in some honest advice to mr president,

    April 2, 2009 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  18. Bonnie in Florida

    "Democrats, who he said favor heavy-handed government, and Republicans, who prefer individual freedom"

    LOL! Yes, the same Republicans that want to legislate my body, who I sleep with, who I marry, and who can adopt. They are SOOOO in favor of individual freedoms.

    April 2, 2009 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  19. Eileen

    “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.”

    -

    At first I thought – ah, Mitt's paying attention to the polling and public sentiment on his party – until that quote. He fails to comprehend that the majority of the public support the advance of the government – they want their tax dollars, if spent, to be spent on them, not the few very rich. Almost mitt, but you're still missing the boat.

    April 2, 2009 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  20. Get Well Soon GOP

    Now that is my kind of GOPer. At least he is not a zellet. Rush could learn a thing or two from him. Last, if he Dems cannot show the value of having all of the power in Congress then the GOP has a shot at taking one of the chambers back in 2010. GOP, stop in fighting and hopeing Obama fails and up your game so that you will be fit to lead in 2 years.

    April 2, 2009 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  21. WAW

    Romney was the only Republican candidate that had any chance of winning the White House and continues to be. If the GOP in congress will listen to him, instead of Rush and Newt, we could see real bi-partisan efforts on issues that must be addressed. You can't just say "No" and "Tax cuts for the rich" and salvage the two party system. No matter what his religion, he is the best the Republicans have to offer. If the Democrats can elect a president who is black, the Republicans can elect a president who is Mormon. But that will not fly in the Bible belt South, so the GOP is probably destined to be the Gone Ole Party.

    April 2, 2009 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  22. Michigander

    I am so sick of hearing Republicans spout off about "individual freedom and free enterprise" when they are the ones supporting the torture of individuals, spying on individuals, and the deregulation of the banks that made "free enterprise" by anyone but billionaires virtually non-existent. Sounds good to trash the party in power, but please be truthful. Plus their 'freedom' extends only to those who are employed. If you're poor and needy, forget about Republicans helping you.

    April 2, 2009 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  23. Doug, New Jersey

    Romney is a decent human being aka republican. The lib for 8 years said Bush was wrong every time. Bush could do exactly what the lib wanted but if he did the lib would then change its view and start screaming and foaming at the mouth at Bush. Obama has a chance with the fair minded right, while no republican has a chance with the lib, it is a being guided by irrational hate-filled emotional distortion.

    April 2, 2009 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  24. Mel of Alexandria, Virginia

    So, here is the beginning of the 2012 campaign to attract moderates and independents, but we are not going to forget that Republicans normally turn into something else after they win.

    April 2, 2009 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  25. New Yorker

    Romney said, Democrats are trying to use this crisis as a way to advance their philosophy of the supremacy of government, and I don’t think [the American people] are being fooled.

    Well, some are being fooled, some think it's a good idea, and all those who voted against Obama knew all along what he was up to .

    April 2, 2009 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
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