(CNN) - Mitt Romney said congressional Republicans were wrong to accept a deal last year that could ultimately result in across-the-board spending cuts, including massive cuts to the military.
"I thought it was a mistake on the part of the White House to propose it," Romney said on NBC's "Meet the Press." "I think it was a mistake for Republicans to go along with it."
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Also known as sequestration, the cuts are set to go into effect in January if Congress fails to find a deficit-reduction plan by the end of the year.
In 2011, congressional leaders reached a last-minute deal to raise the debt ceiling. Part of the deal included tasking a so-called super committee with finding a deficit-reduction plan that fall. As an incentive, the debt ceiling bill included the spending cuts measure, to encourage the committee to move quickly or face the self-imposed penalty of sequestration.
The 12-member, bipartisan committee, however, failed to reach a compromise in November 2011, and now Congress has less than four months to agree on a plan that would avoid the automatic cuts.
Paul Ryan, Romney's running mate, was among the Republicans who voted for last year's bill, also known as the Budget Control Act.
At issue is how to pay for reducing the deficit: Democrats want to raise revenues partly by raising taxes, while Republicans prefer to chip away at the debt through other avenues, such as cutting spending and closing some tax loopholes.
Asked Sunday if he would compromise as president and risk a conservative backlash in order to reach a deal, Romney said he would stand by his principles.
"There's nothing wrong with the term compromise, but there is something very wrong with the term abandoning one's principles," he said. "And I'm going to stand by my principles. And those are, I am not going to raise taxes on the American people."
Saying he's "as conservative as the Constitution," Romney later argued he knows "how to work across the aisle."
And while the Republican nominee has repeatedly vowed to work towards a repeal of President Barack Obama's health care reform, Romney said in the interview he favors some measures found in the law.
"Well, I'm not getting rid of all of health care reform. Of course there are a number of things that I like in health care reform that I'm going to put in place," he said.
Romney listed the provision that ensures those with pre-existing conditions can get coverage as one aspect he would include in his own health care plan, which he said would "replace Obamacare." The former Massachusetts governor has taken heat for opposing the federal health care law despite the fact it was largely modeled after the 2006 law he signed in the Bay State.
On a lighter note, Romney said he laughed at Clint Eastwood's appearance at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida, where the actor performed an unusual skit, talking to an imaginary Obama in an empty chair on stage.
"I was laughing at Clint Eastwood. Look, to have him get up and speak on my behalf was a great thrill," Romney said.
Some criticized the event as bizarre. Eastwood said in a newspaper interview Friday that Romney's staff had, in fact, not approved his script in advance because he didn't think of it until a few minutes before his time slot.
"There was a stool there, and some fella kept asking me if I wanted to sit down," Eastwood said, according to the Carmel Pine Cone. "When I saw the stool sitting there, it gave me the idea. I'll just put the stool out there and I'll talk to Mr. Obama and ask him why he didn't keep all of the promises he made to everybody."
Romney's campaign argued Eastwood's speech, unlike the other RNC speeches, could not be judged through a political lens.
"You don't expect to have a guy like Clint Eastwood get up and, you know, read some speech off a teleprompter like a politician," Romney said. "You expect him to speak from the heart, and that's exactly what he did."
I kind of agree with Mitt. The Republicans DID make a mistake. The BIGGEST one was choosing their nominee!
Oh, Mitt. What an absolute a$$ you are. I can't wait for this election to be over and never, ever have to see your pandering heart ever again.
Yeah, and Bush made a "mistake" invading the wrong country. And Poulson made a "mistake" paying 100 cents on the dollar for bankrupt AIG. What "mistakes" does Romney expect us to tolerate if he's in the Oval Office? Illegal wars? Waterboarding citizens? Putting our hope and treasure in the Caymans? What a dufus ......
Oh, goody. Another week of Clint Eastwood talking points.
Sorry "Flipper". It's too late to backtrack now.
If double-talk was money, this guy would be rich – in dollars.
profits are DOWN in Bain Capital
Romeny is blaming his blind trust mangers
WOW making him president would be a BIG MISTAKE
Mitt is sounding more and more like Sarah Palin.The republican party is full of idiots.
Except the facts are(those pesky facts) that the White House DIDN'T propose the compromise, that came straight out of the Debt Reduction Committee that Congress put together. Should have known at the time that Republicans would try to renege and blame and do anything but keep to their agreement. Not one thing that R/R says passes the smell test. They lie as casually as they breathe.
Romney said he "was laughing at Clint Eastwood...." Exactly, we were all LAUGHING AT Clint Eastwood. Too bad we weren't LAUGHING WITH him. Big difference.
... What "mistakes" does Romney expect us to tolerate if he's in the Oval Office?
Apparently you forgive the big mistakes Obama has made the defining points of his administration. Torturing the middle class with 3 1/2 years of devastating unemployment to the point where the only reduction in unemployment is when hundreds of thousands of Americans give up looking. Driving national debt up at a rate that will bring the nation to its knees just trying to keep up with the interest payments. And making Washington a dysfunctional mess by his total dedication to the work of politics rather than the work of a nation. These are mistakes Mitt Romney will fix when he is in the Oval Office.
He just can't stop talking can he?
Enough already! I have nothing personal against Romney, but which is it? Repeal and replace, repeal, replace, for some of it, none of it, parts of it...geez!
How you run your campaign is how you'd run your presidency. Mitt won't answer specifics, Ryan won't answer specifics, even Ann won't answer specifics.
I thought he said he would repeal Obamacare on day one if elected. Why is he saying that he will not do away with everything? I smell a flipflop here....lol.
Was it a mistake that the White House proposed a deal to avert the first-ever default by the US government? Was it a mistake that Republicans got 98% of what they wanted? When was the last time Romney stood on his principles?
I would like to add that, along with the fact that the White House had nothing to do with the Committee's recommendations, the sole reason that the agreement was so harsh was to drive home to the Republicans the need to come up with a compromise on spending and taxes. They thought that the Republicans would get real rather than see the drastic cuts. The reason that it didn't work is that Republicans simply knew that they would rather spend their time breaking their word than work on any real solutions that might improve things and perhaps ease the pressure on Obama. Party First!
Fellow americans they are not interested in kick starting the economy and spending money in infrastructure, healthcare and other things we US citizens are suffering. He doesn't care about economy and wants it to go to dogs but want to waste money on Military.
He is looking at keeping military spending which is more than next five countries military expenditure combined. So his rich buddies who own companies that supply to military can make money.
Do you know what he is going to do if he becomes president to declare war on Iran or other country so he can win second term? He himself didn't list in army and served army.
Is repealing the only way to make a change to a law? Why are the republicans making a case for the repeal of Obamacare like there is nothing good in it. Most Americans like a lot of the provisions in the law and we all agree that the law is not perfect...but it is a good starting point after generations of debate on this issue. Why not have an adult debate on the provisions that are undesirable in the law and possible push for some ammendments? Why should we go back to start all over again? This is a waster of time and other precious resources. The republicans' stand on this issue is a shame.
I do think Romney needs to ask McCain how he could have dealt with Clint Eastwood with his empty chair. Romney really lacks leadership qualities. We judge people by what they do and say! The man can't lead.
It's impossible to know what Mitt Romney stands for, he's been circling around the issues for years now. Give him a week and he'll be backtracking his MTP comments. The only consistency Romney has shown is his ability to court the voters in the venue he is speaking from. Today it was the Dems. Tomorrow he'll be on FOX saying something different. This in itself is getting old and stale and worthy of nothing but the yawn factor.
All in all, it's been yet another really bad couple of weeks for the Romney campaign. This man is simply not to be trusted as a viable candidate, let alone president. I truly understand why so many potential VP candidates said, "Thanks, but No Thanks" to Romney 2012.
What is that congressmans name who heads up the budget committee in the house? Who was it that voted for this deal and now is out blaming the President? Who is it that likes to talk about how he would have done things different, but when it turns out the new program worked.. he will take credit for it? Yes Mitt, we know.. you would do just the opposite of everything Obama did.. you will proudly write op ed pieces for newspapers telling everyone how bad any new policy is... but you will also never give us an alternative plan... Why? Because you have no plan. Your 5 points spell out nothing.
Oh really.... now Romney is flipping on his statement that he would END ObamaCare..... now he suddenly likes part of it??????? As for the automatic cuts that was something that his boy Ryan pushed.... Now suddenly the republicans are stuck with the law they pushed....... GOOD.... The military spending is a joke.
This interview was a litmus test for Romney to see how well tracking back to the center would be received. Too late Romney, your faustian pact on issues with the far right is unbreakable!
If Eastwood spoke from "the heart," as Romney claims. Then Eastwood's heart isn't very funny.