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. Jack FIds

    Romney said he would stand by his principles...... 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."
    Did anyone think to mention LYING as being a PRINCIPLE or EQUIVOCATION or 180 degree position changes in less than 24 hours.... how about the principle of NOT broadcasting EVERY charitable donation to inflate your stature ?
    If Mith were to stand eyeball to eyeball with me & claim to have ANY positive principles I am afraid I would cover him in VOMIT which is what happens when a body is overwhelmed by garbage that isn't swallowable .

    September 9, 2012 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  2. FlotsamJetsam

    I heard this interview earlier. Over and over again Romney was asked how he would balance the budget by lowering taxes once again, while increasing defense spending. His answer was getting rid of exemptions and deductions. But when pressed a number of times he has refused to mention EVEN ONE!

    This is unacceptable! Right now his claim that the revenue shortfall can be closed has ZERO credibility. I am a Republican, but Romney has not given me a single reason things will be any different than they were under Bush.

    September 9, 2012 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  3. whyforpeoplecanbugme

    oh will you look at this romney changes his issues again. reminds me when he ran against ted kennedy

    September 9, 2012 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  4. Pete

    Romney ,working on your excuses for losing,again!!Not enough lies,not enough flipping,not enough flopping,not enough money from losers like you.Where's all your mormons that are backing you,your parishioners,disgusted ha.More like them are mostly people that dispise you,but your it so let's try to make this one count,Bush sure didn't,did he,what a loser he turned out to be,a business man right ,more like a moron!!!

    September 9, 2012 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  5. Dieter Zerressen

    "And I'm going to stand by my principles." ha, ha, ha, ha, ha. Please provide an example of any principle you have ever stood by. Health care? Gay rights? Abortion rights? Principles, indeed. What a dolt. I just don't undstand how any Republican can believe this nonsense.

    September 9, 2012 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  6. annieL

    I hope the cuts go into effect and stay in effect long enough for people to understand how much of their standard of living comes from Washington's "socialist" spending. Was just the Pentagon spending on weapons of mass destruction that Romney was concerned about? Probably. I'm sure he's fine with the sick, the disabled, the elderly and poor taking a big hit. Oh, and the Earth, too.

    September 9, 2012 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  7. Connie

    If only the GOP would have been willing to work with the Democrats we would not be at a fiscal cliff. Years of Bush tax cuts and two wars have done nothing to lessen the debt crisis. Where would we be if the tax revenues were not cut? The debt would not have been as great. Compromise is needed. A mix of cuts and revenue increases!

    September 9, 2012 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  8. BT

    In typical fashion Romney says he "disagrees" with it the automatic cuts but has never had any suggestion, not one, of what he would do or would have done. And in another bit of standard Romney tactics, he doesn't comment until the polls are in and then he gives his opinion. That man has never had an idea of his own and to think some people would trust him to run the country is downright scary. He doesn't have any plans on anything – he just complains and then says he'll tell what his plans are after he was elected. Who is buying this? Who really thinks that our economy is going to get fixed by tax cuts for millionaires, tax increases for the middle class, turn social security over to Wall Street, and turn medicare over to insurance companies. That's his proposal. That's it. You really think that's going to work? If you do you're nuts.

    September 9, 2012 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  9. jack

    Every time last decad GOP come in power war is answer and trillions spent unnessecery tax payer money.Deficet grow now Rayan taking about cut expenses. Do both things cut expenses and Raise taxes on wealthy who pay only 13% taxes. Otherwise Middle class all the time crunch between war with Democrate and Republican.

    September 9, 2012 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  10. Evergreen

    Glad to see that Romney was also laughing at Eastwood. At the rate Romney's going he will be a democrate by mid October.

    September 9, 2012 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  11. Jay

    Romney saying "I'm going to stand by my principles" is probably the funniest thing I have heard in a long long time.

    Not that Obama is any better, the product of the Chicago political machine who gave the crook Giethner the top economic job.

    This election does suck, how do the two parties manage to put up such dishonest politicians?

    September 9, 2012 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  12. Mark

    Mr. Romney, you have stated that 5 Economist have said your debt plan was the best to take down the debt and create jobs even with giving middle class a tax cut. Who are these Economist. So far I have not been able to track them down or find any studies. Can your provide any more information as to how they made their views. Mr. Romney if your plans doesn't work, I guess five great Economist are wrong. Economic can come to many conclusions, it is not an area that everyone will agree. So provide more information on the 5 Economists that says you are right. Thanks, Mr Romney

    September 9, 2012 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  13. Jamun55

    OK. If the USA cannot cut spending in miltary, where do we cut?! We are spending over 711 billion a year, which is more than twice China and Russia combined. We need to take a lesson from history and not spend ourselves into oblivion. We should not be the policemen to the world as many Americans and some countries believe. Defense of our nation and ensuring its citizens are living a decemt life should be priority one. Not, filling the coffers for the big companies that are pushing the defense budget.

    September 9, 2012 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  14. Anonymous

    quoting ted kennedy in the 90's: "Romney isn't pro-choice he's multiple-choice." good to have you back mittens

    September 9, 2012 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  15. Dorothy Lane

    Tea Party folks will not appreciate him dissing Republicans.

    September 9, 2012 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  16. Marry

    Today’s GOP/TP did not MAKE a mistake – they ARE a mistake!
    November cannot come fast enough to tell the party of “NO”: “NO THANK YOU!”

    September 9, 2012 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  17. sensiblefool

    There you go Tea Party ! Romney has just flip flopped on YOU ! Poor Paul Ryan

    September 9, 2012 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  18. kathy/Minnesota

    See how desperate Mittens is?, he threw his own GOP, vp pick under the bus,and he flips so much,I don't beleive him, he's just trying to pull himself out of this hole he and the "FAR RIGHT" have dug for themselves............."PATHETIC"......pull the plug.......sad to watch.

    September 9, 2012 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  19. JennyTX

    Awesome. Another Repub who wants to "stand on principle" instead of compromise. Just what we need–more gridlock and fighting.

    September 9, 2012 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  20. tadesse

    Kind of another flip-flop

    September 9, 2012 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  21. Warp0

    "Cheating on your taxes and getting away with it is never a mistake"


    September 9, 2012 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  22. mario

    Romney is CRAZY OLD MAN. He just PUNKED OUT Paul Ryan and the whole REPUBLICNAN Party. Nowonder his rating where down 30 % when he made his speach. HONEY BOO BOO had better rating than he did. LOL!

    September 9, 2012 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  23. Joe

    The very idea that Mitten's "Never done anything but profiteer off his daddy" Romney talks about American policy as if he knows better is pathetic!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Romney is pathetic

    September 9, 2012 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  24. LJH2012

    Herbert Hoover was the last Republican Business Man President and we all know what happened during his term: Stock Market Crash, Great Depression, 10,000 Bank Failures, Unemployment Rate @23.6%, GNP fell by 31% and top FEDERAL TAX Rate @63%. We don't need another Republican Business Man to run this country!
    Also Mitt we're still waiting for you to release your tax returns.

    September 9, 2012 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  25. Mr. Reality

    So, Democrats made deep cuts to scores of programs if Republicans would cut defense spending. And now, the Republicans are changing their minds – AFTER the deal? How typical.

    The US spends 60 percent of its annual budget on the military, but Republicans can't find any military purchases they can cut? Who do they think they're kidding?

    September 9, 2012 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
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