(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."
Mitt's mistake was not teaching his 5 boys what voluntary military service is all about.
I will not vote for a guy who has a double standerd .
So Mitt says he'll repeal it, now he won't....wants to cut spending, says spending cut agreement was a mistake....wont cut taxes but will repeal loop holes and cut taxes on on capital gains and other investment taxes...things the middle class DON"T HAVE THE MONEY TO EVEN INVEST TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF. THis guy is a walking disaster movie. He amy think he knows how business works, but he sure has no idea how government works. No wonder Obama is pulling away in the polls.
In a rare and candid moment of reflection and admission, Mr. Romney sees the truth.
What he meant to say was the GOP "is" a mistake. They bash Obama, but they have no plan of their own. They want us to "just take our word for it". Their party hasn't been on the same page at all this whole campaign. And they want us to give them our vote. The American people just can't afford it anymore. Obama 2012 folks!
Democrats plan is to raise revenue "partly through taxes?" Is there another way for the federal government to raise revenue?
Last year we sold a car to the ex O of a US marine base, who described his job as "herding cats." For anyone to say that we must cut government spending and then refuse to find ANY waste and places to cut defense spending has got to be in bed with the lobbyists. Oops.
Last week Romney said it was a mistake to make ANY military cuts. . .and then when asked which programs he would cut first, he said NPR, Planned Parenthood, Medicaid. Those aren't political cuts, are they?!
For those that don't know, Mitt has been saying these things all along specially the health care reform. The problem is nobody is listening, or only listening to Obama's attack ads.
Mitt, that's the biggest load of horse hockey I've ever heard! Mr. Eastwood upstaged you BAAADDDDLLLYYY! I would have been much more likely to vote for Mr. Eastwood because at least you know exactly were he stands! With you Mitt that's tends to change with each person you talk with.
Ryan says no one over 55 will be effected by his Medicare plan. He also said he ran a marathon in less than 3 hours until some damned fact checkers caught him on it. The man has no character at all
After spending months and months hammering away at the theme that lowering taxes on the job creators would create jobs, Mitt Romney is now saying that his plan will keep taxes the same on high incomes and lower them only for the middle class.
“And I want to make sure people understand, despite what the Democrats said at their convention, I am not reducing taxes on high income taxpayers.”
Just ONE question for Ryan at the Debates– why are you a fan of Ayn Rand? Let him explain to us the virtues of Ultra Capitalism
So he is saying it was the White House that offered this? Wasn't it the 12-member BI-PARTISAN committee?? In this article, I was looking to see if it was the GOP made a mistake in HAVING 'OL WILLARD BE THE NOMINEE! Too funny...
Where does this desperate Romney really stand on issues. What a flip-flopper. Today, you say you will repeal Obama's health care plan; tomorrow you say you will keep most of it. You will raise taxes for the rich but you make it sound like all Americans will benefit. You will never be America's President
Go romney/ryan/clint. U rock. cant wait to get dictator obama out of office. What a hoax for a prez....
'Ol Willard pretending he thought it was amusing that Clint Eastwood was exploited by the Republicans! Just continuing his "lyin' tour." He knows it was a total embarrassment for them. But you see, he can never ever tell the truth. Scary for me to even THINK OF THIS GUY BEING PRESIDENT! Please peope! Don't let it come to that!!
This is guy is unbelievable. I'm getting tired trying to remember what he said the last time.
Ryan is the direct cause of the automatic cuts in defense spending. He INSISTED on automatic spending cuts if the supercommiitee did not come up with them. INSISTED
RNC official comment on Clint's speech: Not intended to be a factual statement.
Or even make any sense.
Kind of like the few generalities revealed so far by the republican platform.
Mitt Romney is a fraud.
I don"t remember President Obama recommending it. I remembering the republicans couldn't compromise on anything so they shoved the sequestor down everyone's throat and NOW they blame it on President Obama. What is Lyan Ryan talking about? romney believes the lies??
Gee Wiz Mitt, maybe you should have a heart to heart with Grover Norquist and see if he will agree to a tax hike on you and your buddies. Maybe that would help stem the cuts. I guess it is out of the question that the Republicans and Democrats of Congress can work out a "compromise".
It would appear to me that is not the only mistake they have made throughout the 8 years previous also. The "pretend conservative" Ryan voted for nearly every bill that got us into this fiscal mess.
Since when have republicans EVER done what President Obama recommended? ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha
Caught in YET ANOTHER BIG FAT LIE ROMNEY.
reallly, are the American people listening to this? he likes Obamacare, they made mistakes, he won't tax the rich, come on people, average American's and women in particular, Romney IS NOT ON YOUR SIDE, he, in all reality, knows Obama is right