Romney says GOP made 'mistake,' weighs in on Eastwood, health care
September 9th, 2012
12:21 PM ET
6 years ago

Romney says GOP made 'mistake,' weighs in on Eastwood, health care

(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."

Filed under: 2012 • Budget • Debt • Deficit • Mitt Romney
soundoff (153 Responses)
  1. CaliforniaBC

    Seriously? Romney is more concerned about military spending than he is about cuts to middle class programs and increased tax burdens added through HIS plans?

    Perhaps the debt cutting wannabe needs to be reminded that the House GOP passed a budget with twice as much in military spending than the Pentagon asked for.

    September 9, 2012 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  2. lung-butter

    Romney and GOP made 'mistake' Just more liberal news propaganda instead of reporting newsworthy news. Communist News Network sure knows how to tell the half truths in order to rial up it's blind followers.

    September 9, 2012 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  3. Dan, TX

    I agree with Romney – Boehner is an idiot.

    September 9, 2012 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  4. Adam

    Mitt, Do you have any ideas besides tax cuts for you and your rich friends to help this country and the middle class? Oh yeah, you told us to elect you first and then you would yell us your plan.

    Now that would be a mistake!

    September 9, 2012 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  5. ll

    The Republicans made MANY "mistakes" in trashing our economy and leaving us with two FINANCED wars to deal with.

    Mitt would only be more of the same. No thanks..

    September 9, 2012 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  6. Amarjeet

    If GOP made defense cuts as part of deal with President Obama, let GOP get freedom to correct itself with statement & amendment to the deal with mutual agreement of Democrats.

    September 9, 2012 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  7. Ram Riva

    Romney 1040....
    Disclose all your tax returns for the last decade....GAME OVER!!...
    that will be the biggest mistake the GOP will make....they know it....they want the American people to forget it...
    The question is....will you??.....

    September 9, 2012 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  8. Ron L- Mich

    I saw this interview and you know what is a REALLY EASY thing to do??? Say I think that something was a mistake! Do you know what is REALLY HARD to do" Give answer that includes what you would have done instead". And as usual the person that was interviewing him did not ask the question. A MAJOR problem with our news media is often the interviewer is devoid of good followup questions. They just seem to want to go through their list, there as bad as the politicains wanting to go through their talking points. It's pretty pathetic.

    September 9, 2012 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  9. Dave Harris

    This just gets more and more ridiculous. Republicans want to cut spending for everything except defense, which even the generals don't want. It's obvious that he has no plan, no clue, no ideas about how to fix the runaway deficit which is mostly the fault of past Republican administrations. He promises to "kill" Obamacare, except the parts he doesn't want to "kill". And he claims to have a health care plan, perhaps much like Romneycare, which he also denounces. What a loser.

    September 9, 2012 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  10. drake mallard

    Mitt Romney, “He is the worst Republican in the country to put up against Barack Obama.”

    September 9, 2012 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  11. Dior

    It is so unfortunate, that these liberals having nothing to proudly speak of their god Obama enorder to convince skeptics like me will result only in being uncivilized and derogatory of Mitt because they're so known of being intolerant of opposing opinions prizing themselves as the smartest and most reasonable. They are the most pretentious folks you can ever imagine. Look keenly and observe the life of a liberal characters, it is always of pretense, never practicing what the preach. The love elitism but fake that they are not elite. Look keenly at them and you will see exactly as I see. It is so shameful.

    September 9, 2012 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  12. shuman

    When Obama holds fiscal collapse and social Security recipients' checks hostage, there is little choice.

    With Obama, it is "my way or the highway" win or destroy the country.

    Remember when he said "elections have consequences and I won"? He meant do what I want or this kid gets it.

    September 9, 2012 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  13. Jessie P.

    I noticed on the political talk shows today how Paul Ryan could not answer any questions and basically admitted that they would take away Medicare and Social Security so the wealthy can get even more wealthy. I have two friends that have lost their jobs, but they are not dumb and can see through Mitt R. and Paul R's lies and they will be voting for Barack Obama. They realize and have the smarts to see that it will take longer than 4 years to fix the economy that Bush left us with and that the Republican Congress refuses to vote for proposals that Barack Obama has layed out to create milliions of noted by independent fact checkers. I see why Mitt R. and Paul R. do not want to base their campaign on facts and independent fact checkers!

    September 9, 2012 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  14. g

    i think the mistakes started 1980 for the middle class

    September 9, 2012 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  15. mikle

    Obama president is a mistake.

    September 9, 2012 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  16. lindylou123

    Romney has no clue – I think he has early onset alzheimers- maybe we should ask for a test? He changes his mind ( what little he seems to have) every day depending on which way he thinks the wind is blowing

    he couldn't even take proper care of his dog for goodness sakes and now people want to place the care of this great nation in his hands? No thank you

    September 9, 2012 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  17. Maria Rivera-Carvalho

    Mr. Romney has a problem with semantics. What he calls the American people are actually the 1% of the country. What he said is Newspeak for "don't touch my elite friends". What he calls his "principles" vary according on who's listening. I never have never seen such an ambivalent and unprincipled presidential candidate . With two factually challenged men running, Republicans have hit rock bottom. ( I hope).

    September 9, 2012 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  18. "When you walk through the door of opportunity, you do not close it, you reach behind you and help someone else" Michelle O!

    We were laughing at an old fool giving an explicit example of why the elderly should never mix alcohol and Aricept that turned out to be the high point of the RNC, as well.

    And not in a good way.

    September 9, 2012 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  19. Norma Vessels

    Clint Eastwood asked 'the chair' why all the promises made by President Obama wasn't kept. Everyone
    knows why, even Mr. Eastwood. Promises weren't kept because the Republicans (your friends, Mr, Eastwood)
    took a 100% stand and did absolutely NOTHING to help our President get those promises done! Everyone knows
    that ... why are you asking that dumb question? I truly hope that everyone will wise up and vote those Republicans
    out of the House and Senate, so our President CAN keep the rest of his promises.

    September 9, 2012 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  20. Principles? What principles?

    "There's nothing wrong with the term compromise, but there is something very wrong with the term abandoning one's principles," he said.

    Mitt has principles??? Funniest thing I've ever read. Is there anything he hasn't taken both sides on?

    September 9, 2012 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  21. Ken

    Silly non millionaire Peasants want to see my past returns & take away my precious Dressage tax subsidies.Silly middle class wants me to open up & be specific. They are such petty human beings. I am a very Special man who is exempt from bowing to those of megar lives.

    September 9, 2012 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  22. lookindown

    When most Americans today are honoring veterans’ sacrifice, Romney is six months into promoting giving veterans vouchers for their healthcare benefits to enrich the health care industry, and it informs where his true loyalties lie. Instead of increasing funding to care for the men and women who served in the military, Romney hopes to cheat them out of the benefits they earned. Romney’s hero and Republican’s courageous fiscal guru’s budget that passed in the Republican House of Representatives cuts $11 billion from veteran’s spending, or 13% less than President Obama proposes in his budget. In fact, in the nearly 100-page Ryan Path to Prosperity budget, the word veteran is not mentioned one time. Romney’s privatization scam would “be inadequate, and become more so over time, so that veterans who don’t make enough money to top them up would fail to receive essential care” according to noted economist Paul Krugman.

    September 9, 2012 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  23. dustybunsnelson

    Oh Romney, you claim you will govern on principal, but that's one of your problems, you don't have any! What's even more frightening, is that you don't know it!

    September 9, 2012 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  24. Karen

    Flip flopping again! Not surprised!

    September 9, 2012 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  25. patw

    So I'm paying a certain amount of tax because of a deduction. Romney/Ryan eliminate the deduction and I'm paying a larger amount of tax. I guess these two RINOs are going to have explain to me how that is not a tax increase.

    September 9, 2012 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
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