September 11th, 2012
12:35 PM ET
6 years ago

Romney tells CNN: 'You've got to work with people across the aisle'

Washington (CNN) - Mitt Romney told CNN he would try to follow the same path of bipartisanship on some key issues if he is elected that helped him get health reform passed while he was governor of Massachusetts.

"You've got to work with the people across the aisle, who may have differences in policy but who agree in terms of the goal. Ultimately you can convince each other, you can find common ground. There are a lot of places, by the way, that you just can't you just say, 'We're just going to have to agree to disagree,'" he told CNN Chief Political Analyst Gloria Borger last month as part of an interview for the CNN documentary "Romney Revealed: Family, Faith and the Road to Power."

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In the interview, taped last month before he captured the Republican Party nomination, Romney pointed to one possible area where both sides may be able to come together although there have been major disagreements in the past about the best approach to take even on that issue.

"I think, for instance, we can agree that Social Security is fine for retirees and near-retirees but for people in their 20's we've got to come up with a better way to guarantee Social Security will be there for them. I think Democrats agree with that. I think Republicans agree with that. I think Ronald Regan and (former House Speaker) Tip O'Neill agreed with that and worked out ways to keep Social Security going for present generations," he said.

"We have to be able to do the same on important issues. I was able to do that in Massachusetts. There are some lessons I learned in doing that, and if I got to Washington, absolutely I expect to have a good relationship with leading Democrats and probably some coalitions of Democrats and Republicans that care about issues that I care very deeply about."

Some conservatives may not be too happy to hear those words because they want their party leaders not to be compromising and instead to stand up to Democrats to push party principles even if that results in gridlock.

However, the idea of bipartisanship and the willingness to work with the other party are key priorities for many independents – a key constituency because they are not aligned with one party and could be the deciding factor because polls indicate the race is so close.

Because Democrats controlled the state legislature while he was governor, Romney had to work with the opposition party to get his health reform initiative passed.

Romney previously has been criticized by some members of the state house for not doing a better job of reaching out while governor. He acknowledged to CNN he "got better over time, and I know I made mistakes in how I dealt" with the legislature.

Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • President Obama
soundoff (110 Responses)
  1. gmenfan54

    Romney needs to tell this to the GOP controlled Congress.

    September 11, 2012 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  2. Marita

    I don't trust Romney. He is a spoiled rich person who has no clue of what the middle class goes through on a daily basis. He pretends to know by trying to act as a regular person but the truth is he's had an easy life, he bought himself into becoming Governor of Mass and is tryiing to do the same with the Presidency. He will be just as bad if nor worse than George W. Bush. Being a corporate raider does not qualify him as a job creator to the contrary, it makes him a job destroyer.

    September 11, 2012 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  3. Harry Bradford

    Work across the aisle? How's that been working for the guy in the oval office now?

    September 11, 2012 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  4. Ryan/Romney Kill Medicare Team 2012

    Congressman Paul Ryan vote against the 911 First Response Health Bill in 2010. Paul Ryan needs to get kick out of congress and stop living on the tax payer dime. Vote Obama/Biden 2012!

    September 11, 2012 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  5. Namejkane sfl a vote for the gop will cut your moms medicare and soc sec .can you afford to pay for them???

    One side we could come together on is ,where are your 10 years of tax returns ?????

    September 11, 2012 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  6. Mikey

    That is a little difficult when the people on other side of the aisle have decided that the best way to win the next Presidential election is to prevent that from happening.

    September 11, 2012 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  7. Rudy NYC

    True. So what happens when "the people across the aisle" have decided to entrench themselves in the position that they will not work with you, not under any circumstance no matter what, before you even meet them for the first tiime? Whose fault is that?

    September 11, 2012 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  8. Malory Archer

    You're absolutely correct mittens. Unfortunately, the reichwing's idea of working with people across the aisle that the other side is supposed to conform to the reichwing's policies and ideology. We saw it in the previous occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue's proclamation that you're either with him or against the troops. We've seen it in their screaming H E L L NO at any democratic initiative – even if it was one the rethugs themselves came up with and advocated. Heck, we even had one teabag candidate state that his definition of compromise was for the Dems to accept the reichwing platform lock, stock and barrell. Yeah, we won't be fooled again.

    September 11, 2012 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  9. realitybites

    Ooo. The Teaparty is not gonna like that one bit. What the heck does he think he's doing? Doesn't he realize what happened to party line conservatives who dared to work with the other side for the good of us plebes?

    September 11, 2012 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  10. Malory Archer


    Being a corporate raider does not qualify him as a job creator to the contrary, it makes him a job destroyer.


    Or as someone on another website put it, he's a job creaMator!

    September 11, 2012 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  11. just_a_moderate

    I'll call b s on that one. Massachusetts liberals aren't the left's equivalent to the the Teabillies.

    Further, Romney left with a 30% approval rating–that's W-level support from his own electorate in the ONLY office that he ever won.

    The House is farther right than anything we have seen in the past 80 years. They're political terrorists, no bipartisan partners. Productive members of legislature don't feel compelled to add the defunding of Planned Parenthood to every "jobs bill."

    The GOP is turning this into a one-party system. It makes no sense to have one political party and one religious mouthpiece. Find your libertarian values again.

    September 11, 2012 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  12. maf

    Great. . . another useless sound bite from nominee Romney!
    He appears to make these comments with his eyes closed because if he was truly engaged and involved in the process within the GOP, he would have stepped up and implored his fellow Republicans to embrace proposals set forth by the President to move the economy forward. To sit on the sidelines and now believe that he could have some magic to break the partisan gridlock that now stymies progress in Washington is another disingenuous feat.
    If you GOP stalwarts believe that Mitt is the answer to bi-partisanship, you are delusional!!

    September 11, 2012 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  13. California Gary

    Oh oh.......I don't think Romney cleared this "you have to work across the aisle" message with Boehner or McConnell. I'm sure they will be creating a "dump Romney" committee with the support of the Tea Party once word gets out that he thinks people should be willing to work with the other party on anything. Compromise is a four letter word in the did Mitt not get the word on that?

    September 11, 2012 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  14. frespech

    My only wish is that if Romney gets elected that if the Congress goes Democrat or they maintain the Senate that regardless of whatever policies and agendas the Republicans put forward, the simple answer is always, always, NO

    September 11, 2012 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |

    Hmmm. They should have nominated John Huntsman instead of this serial flip flopper.

    September 11, 2012 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  16. Malory Archer


    My only wish is that if Romney gets elected that if the Congress goes Democrat or they maintain the Senate that regardless of whatever policies and agendas the Republicans put forward, the simple answer is always, always, NO


    I concur. However, he'll just pass signing statements and executive orders declaring himself supreme ruler of the universe and do whatever he pleases.

    September 11, 2012 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  17. sayer

    Tell that to the GOP in the U.S. House and Senate, Mitt.

    September 11, 2012 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  18. tykl

    Poor Lefties. So up in arms. So offended that somebody might suggest they could do a better job than their beloved O. Like Clinton's "nobody could fix that economy in 4 years, not even me" comment, O and his supports think "nobody could work across the aisle, not even me." You haven't seen anything yet because you insist that Clinton and O are the best. O wouldn't get hired in the private sector for his lack of qualifications and ineffectiveness and Clinton couldn't get hired to carry out his profession of law because he was dis-barred. So newsflash for the Left, there are capable people out there who can fix the economy and work across the aisle – their names just don't happen to be Clinton and O.

    September 11, 2012 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  19. Asturiano

    Seems like Congressional Republicans don't agree since they have been obstructing for 4 years.

    September 11, 2012 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  20. Amnesia 101

    Um, ya think? Congress forgets who they work for –We The PEOPLE!– Stop screwing with our lives. I can't believe they get paid by us for doing just that. No more 'Tea Party' crap, either. What a giant joke on the American people.

    September 11, 2012 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  21. Dude in Colorado

    So I guess Romney doesn't want this election, because the very thought of compromising w/Democrats to the far right is unthinkable.

    September 11, 2012 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  22. Swing State

    Romney is all talk; no substance. He needs to tell that to his own party. The one whose senate leader vowed to make Obama a one termer instead of focusing on helping Americans during the 2008 crisis.

    September 11, 2012 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  23. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Correct. You have to work with people across the aisle NOT take them hostage.
    Obama 2012. Seriously Americans.

    September 11, 2012 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  24. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    I really can't believe this man's chutzpah.
    It does indeed take some big brass ones to lie like a rug a la Romney and Ryan without batting an eyelash.

    September 11, 2012 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  25. Legalize Reason

    That is the clearest argument I have heard so far for voting Boehner, Cantor, Ryan and the rest of the GOP ideologues out of Congress in November. Time to run this country according to the Constitution, not by having the tail wag the dog.

    September 11, 2012 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
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