April 2nd, 2009
10:38 AM ET
9 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. Raze Temple

    I love how they point out that he didn't use a teleprompter. Like that matters more than the actual words he says? Give it a rest with the that already. It's a new age and some people are too busy fixing problems to memorize a speech like this gentleman just did.

    Kudos to him for taking the high road here and not bashing Obama like so many others in that party have done recently every time they get their hands on a mic. It goes to show that in order to succeed we must let the President do the job we elected him to do.

    April 2, 2009 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  2. Joe - Chicago

    Mitt you flat don't get it.

    First of all, the Republicans are *NOT* the party of individual freedom. Ask any impoverished pregnant girl seeking an Abortion, or any gay couple trying to win the same legal rights that any straight couple can get. And the Republican's are big on heavy handed government, they like to tap our phone calls and detain people indefinitely without charge in the name of national security.

    Second, most of the country realizes now that there is only one fix for this crisis, and that is to lay an entire new foundation and restore a balance of power between government and private enterprise. The lines between the two have become blurred to the point that corporate interests and government policy have become one in the same. The results have been catastrophic.

    April 2, 2009 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  3. Mississippi Mike

    I agree with Romney that the only salvation for the auto industry is to completely restructure their organizations and streamline their operations. They would have done it years ago if the unions would have let them. Obama needs to fire the union bosses and force the unions to agree to reasonable terms. If that doesn't happen, we are basically bailing out the unions, not the automakers.

    April 2, 2009 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  4. Obama 2.0

    Where are all the terrorist pals of Obama that the GOP was so concerened about during the campaign??? It will be a long time beofre I trust these guys with governing again. Trust with one hand & verify with the other!

    April 2, 2009 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  5. Dave

    Not a fan of Mitt, but I'll give him credit... for giving credit. If we'd see more of that from the Republicans instead of all the crazy "oh noes it's teh socializm!" hysteria, then maybe we could ALL solve some of this country's troubles.

    April 2, 2009 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  6. Dean from Maine

    Someone in the GOP finally gets it...(feel free to sing with me)...just a spoon full of sugar helps the medicine go down, the medicine go downnnnn, the medicine go down (repeat)

    April 2, 2009 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  7. Paul

    Romney in 2012 will have the same fundamental problem he had in 2008: voters do not believe he is sincere, and with good reason. He will hold whichever view profits him most in the short term and people see through him, and that's why McCain beat him so handily.

    April 2, 2009 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  8. C

    BE CAREFUL DEMS, I SMELL A SNAKE! This guy went from painting Obama as a radical to trying to peel away from his own party's radical image. It's a wolf in sheep's clothing, and we won't fall for it. I guess the Republicans are realizing that Obama is on the right track and they want to get on board for the ride until it's time to get off and start ripping away at him again!

    April 2, 2009 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  9. Stephen

    The libs that post here are not indicitave of society as whole. Take that into consideration while reading.

    April 2, 2009 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  10. Val in MA

    "Romney, speaking without notes or teleprompter" – Obama has a lot to learn from Romney, including this little trick of speaking without notes and teleprompter. Gov. Romney is the guy who, we, the people, need now to get us out of this economic mess. Our country would be blessed to have him as the president. I hope he runs in 2012.

    April 2, 2009 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  11. Harold

    It only helps to point out the obvious. That is the only way the Republican Party can grow. Mention the agreements and accent the disagreements. If 60% of folks think Obama is doing okay, figure out why, give the guy credit and when he fails on something use that opportunity. Maybe Romney is finally getting it.

    April 2, 2009 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  12. alvin

    Can you say FLIP FLOPPING?

    This guy a few months ago wanted GM and Chrysler to go into bankruptcy now he is praising the president for bailing them out. This is pure pandering?

    April 2, 2009 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  13. donna

    Please..Mitt is angling for votes in 2012..he knows that if he publicly dismisses Obama like most of his party he won't stand a chance of peeling away from Obama's base come election day..he is trying not to be the "bitter" partisian that he really is.....

    April 2, 2009 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  14. Sue M

    The reason Romney is saying nice things about President Obama now is because the Republicans are seeing and are going to see that Obama's going in the right direction and if the GOP keeps opposing the President they are going to have to eat a lot of words, and are going to be in a hole that they will not be able to dig themselves out of..........

    April 2, 2009 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  15. JA/TN

    America, it is time to unite, and step aside from petty polictics, we are at a crossroads, employment, energy, national security, etc

    April 2, 2009 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  16. Laverne

    Mitt Romney is just saying that because he is trying to line things up for himself. As far as I am concerned, President Obama has gotten a lot more right than the republicans has given him credit for. That's the problem with republicans, if things are not done their way, it is the wrong way even if their way has not and does not work. The repubs can continue to criticize and plot against the president all they want to, but at the end of the day, America under Obama's leadership will win!

    April 2, 2009 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  17. Santos

    If you think that Mitt wont be taking orders from Salt Lake then you didnt pay attention to the prop 8 goings on in California. Mitt is a mormon first, a republican second and a citizen of the US third.

    April 2, 2009 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  18. Deb

    I think it is commendable that Mitt Romney can acknowledge President Obama's hard work and good judgment. Unlike most other Republicans who are just against the administration and unveiled a budget plan that makes absolutely no sense. We can not afford that kind of inadequacy in the White House or in our government. Look where it led us.

    April 2, 2009 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  19. j

    Didn`t the Republicans control both houses of congress AND the Presidency from 2000-most 2006 ? Wasn`t it then the budget went out of whack from surplus to horrific debt ? Why didn`t they practice what they preach then? Only now do they whine and wail about spending. ----- Their plan !!!!- you guessed it . Same old more tax cuts, capital gains cuts, expand estate exemptions, reduce corporate taxes, bla,bla, bla------

    April 2, 2009 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  20. Kitchen Police

    Romney would be the wise choice for 2012, however, the socially conservative republicans who control the party won't stand for his nomination.

    April 2, 2009 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  21. Mike

    Real solutions, real experience, no need for "teleprompters" for speeches.

    April 2, 2009 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  22. ike

    He's probably the smartest guy inthe GOP. All this divisiveness in the the GOP will cause them to surely lose. It turns people off when they rant on Obama...he's slick...Romney that is...but smart.

    April 2, 2009 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  23. Jack in Florida

    A thoughtful Republican....................HEY everyone should get behind Mitt Romney as he has a shot for 2012................I would have voted for him had he run instead of my voting for Obama..(not that I regret my vote one bit)......

    April 2, 2009 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  24. cj

    Joe, you think that the current administration has drawn line by putting themselves right in business and banking. What do you call a society where the government has interest in banking and private business? socialism. If you lose all your profits, you would be allowed to fail, why shouldn't they. Point being Government intrusion is at an all time high.

    April 2, 2009 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  25. BJ

    Ivan said:

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

    Sound familiar?

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