Romney offers specifics on spending cuts
November 3rd, 2011
09:36 PM ET
10 years ago

Romney offers specifics on spending cuts

Exeter, New Hampshire (CNN) - In a speech notable for both its specificity and the warm audience response, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney pledged Thursday to cut federal spending and improve government productivity.

Speaking to an effusive audience of several hundred in New Hampshire, Romney said if elected he would bring a businessman's philosophy to Washington. He promised to cut $500 billion in federal spending during his first term in office, and said he would cut funding to Amtrak, some foreign aid programs and President Obama's health care plan.

He also said he would send funds for programs including Medicaid back to states to distribute as they see fit, and work to reduce redundancies in federal assistance programs such food stamps and Medicaid.

Romney told the audience he would be forced to make cuts he didn't want to make, but that the nation's long-term fiscal health depended on making difficult decisions.

"There are other programs I like, and I don't want to cut them," he said, adding that Republican leaders needed to be willing to make those tough choices. "It is a moral responsibility to believe in fiscal responsibility. We do and I do."

He said also he would reduce federal employment by 10% through attrition.

Romney also leveled a veiled attack against Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who suggested in an interview with the New Hampshire Union Leader last week that he would wait to focus on reducing the deficit until the economy was back on its feet.

"I'm less worried about whether or not we've got budget holes to fill in the early years than I am getting the confidence of the job creators that they can actually go out and risk their capital and have a chance to have a return on their investment and create jobs," Perry told the Union Leader.

To audience applause in Exeter Thursday, Romney said reducing the deficit would be an early priority for him.

"Deficits do matter. They matter a lot," he said. "We're a party who recognizes you don't spend what you don't have."

His speech was peppered with anecdotes from his time spent in the private sector. During his tenure at the helm of the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah, Romney said, he scaled back fancy luncheons for members of the company's board. Instead, he said he served pizza and soft drinks, and charged $1 for members to partake.

After his speech Romney was surrounded by supporters who eagerly pressed in on him as he worked his way towards the exit.

Romney will follow his New Hampshire event with a policy speech on spending Friday in Washington.

–Follow Rachel Sreitfeld on Twitter: @StreitfeldCNN

Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • New Hampshire
soundoff (38 Responses)
  1. Debbie

    Hmmm "promises?" From the flip, flop, flipper! Romney said if elected he would bring a businessman's philosophy to Washington. OK...but what Washington needs is not another businessman but a leader to serve and govern. I did not see anywhere Romney would propose to cut defense spending and that is a moral choice as well.

    November 3, 2011 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  2. Larry L

    Amtrak... big deal. What about Medicare and Social Security. What about the Defense budget? Do you plan to rape the environmental programs? What about investment in the infrasturcture? Specifics? I haven't heard them yet.

    He mentioned "job creators". I heard let's protect the rich.

    November 3, 2011 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  3. jeffromac

    The only reason bussinesses will hire is if there is demand which with the middle class wages stagnant as they have been for years there will be no demand. When will these people realize it's not taxes or regulations it's dermand that drives job creation not tax cuts or deregulation but demand.

    November 3, 2011 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  4. azmary

    Apparentely Mr. Romney sees no difference between limiting fancy lunches for wealthy members of the Olynpics board, and limiting food stamp and medical insurance support for very poor people who are barely getting by on their meager earnings from low-wage jobs and food stamps. What a heartless person he appears to be. Americans have overwhelmingly said the focus needs to be on JOBS NOW, not some "pie in the sky" theory that the job creators will hire lots more people if we just reduce regualtions on businesses and give more tax breaks to the richest Americans.

    November 3, 2011 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  5. lsm

    I watched that speech, and it was clear that here is a man who knows what he is talking about, with experience in both business and governing. It rang true, and was inspiring, especially what he did with the 2002 olympics, and to turn Massachusetts' budget from a 3 billion dollar deficit to a 2 billion dollar surplus, in 4 years. The crowd was energized. I felt like he was in it because he really has something to offer in this crisis.

    November 3, 2011 10:48 pm at 10:48 pm |

    Obama 2012!!!! Mitt WILL lose.

    November 3, 2011 11:13 pm at 11:13 pm |
  7. rs

    Brilliant- Cut AMTRAK. It only has 30,000,000 riders annually who would do what exactly in its absence? AMTRAK's budget is a tiny fraction of the federal spending problem.
    For me, cutting any federal health program is a non-starter, and I won't cast a vote for anyone cutting there. Especially as long as the military budgets aren't cut, or the tax cuts for the rich remain in place.
    I'll give Romney a tiny bit of credit for his few specifics- but as is so predictable with the GOP/TP, the cuts he proposes has much more to do with dogma and not fixing the budget or helping real Americans.

    November 4, 2011 12:18 am at 12:18 am |
  8. otermbachmann

    Thank you mittens, but I'll wait for your tomorrows spending cuts. Which will be different than todays.

    November 4, 2011 12:24 am at 12:24 am |

    looks like romney is going to be leading the looser pack now! quotes from the group "let the forclosers run its course and hit bottom" " the cure for unemployment is to get raid of the minimum wage" "if your poor or out of work its your own fault" "cut the taxes more for the job creators" ( code for the job exporters). "FEMA is a big joke and doesn't work and should be cut". if you think i am a liberal i am not i lost my familly tool and die business because i could not out last george bush jr. and all the FORSALE OR LEASE COMERCIAL PROPERTY SIGNS growing out of the ground just like weeds all over this country during the last time repulicans controlled the country!

    November 4, 2011 12:25 am at 12:25 am |
  10. Robert

    I voted fo Obama but I'll lkely vote for Romney. He'll be a great president who will get results. Take unpopular positions for the good of the country. I can't wait for Jan 2013.

    November 4, 2011 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
  11. Independent from NH

    New Hampshire loves Romney. Long live Romney!!

    November 4, 2011 12:31 am at 12:31 am |
  12. E G30

    Well said Romney. Cut everything that the American people depend on so rich people don't have to pay taxes. If I were rich I would love you. But I'm not so guess where my vote is going. Besides, my job would be on the chopping block if you were elected. Your an idiot for telling the 99% ahead of time that you don't give a damn about the people you want votes from. Obama 2012.

    November 4, 2011 12:36 am at 12:36 am |
  13. thomas

    How many of Mitts five sons volunteered for military service ?

    NONE !

    "It is a moral responsibility to believe in fiscal responsibility.

    November 4, 2011 12:46 am at 12:46 am |
  14. ThinkAgain

    "We're a party who recognizes you don't spend what you don't have."

    Oh, BS! Your party (under GW Bush, and passed through reconciliation) is the one that cut taxes during wartime – never done before in our nation's history! That, plus two unfunded wars and unfunded Medicare Part D, turned the Clinton surplus into a huge deficit.

    And you guys didn't even have the stones to put the cost of the two wars on the books – and when President Obama did put them on the books, you and your Greedy Old Pigs party accuse of Obama creating the deficit!

    Romney, if you want to get real about deficit reduction, raise taxes on the rich in this country. 68% of them have said they WANT to pay more to help our country. Your unwillingness to consider this tells me and everyone else with a working brain that you DO NOT want to help our country.

    Obama/Biden 2012

    November 4, 2011 12:49 am at 12:49 am |
  15. ThinkAgain

    Romney made his millions breaking up American companies, laying off American workers and shipping American jobs overseas.

    'Nuff said.

    November 4, 2011 12:52 am at 12:52 am |
  16. manhandler

    Romney is the only Repub running that hasn't lost his mind. The problem is that after he wins the nomination, most the tea partiers and far righties will sit on their hands and not vote..and the rest of them won't vote for him becasue of his religion. He doesn't stand a chance.

    November 4, 2011 12:57 am at 12:57 am |
  17. Darnell

    So let me get this straight: when Ron Paul proposes cutting $1 trillion in the first year and balancing the budget in 3 years, the media calls him loony and extreme and too radical for America, but when Romney proposes basically the same thing (on a much smaller scale), he receives a hero's welcome and accolades. This media bias is getting quite a bit ridiculous...

    November 4, 2011 01:01 am at 1:01 am |
  18. ThinkAgain

    "He [Romney] said also he would reduce federal employment by 10% through attrition."

    This is all part of the GOP plan to privatize everything in government. Folks who think this is a good idea should go live where there isn't a government or not much of one, say Somalia or any third-world nation.

    Knock your socks off!

    November 4, 2011 01:01 am at 1:01 am |
  19. ThinkAgain

    Romney thins we should let home owners default and lose their homes; this would "free up" investors to buy up the foreclosed properties at fire sale prices and then rent them back to the former owners.

    Teabaggers believe that only property owners should have the right to vote, because only they have a "stake in the community." (Right, like young families or folks who can't afford to buy a home, but have kids in school and pay taxes don't have a stake ....)

    Historically speaking, the requirement to own property in order to vote was eliminated in 1850.

    See the trend, folks? Romney wants as many of us as possible to lose our homes and become renters, the teabaggers want us to not be able to vote (since we don't own property), and we'll all live happily ever after in serfdom to the multi-national corporations!

    November 4, 2011 01:05 am at 1:05 am |
  20. Rona

    It's hard to believe that the US would elect Romney (a non christian) for president. He belongs to a modern day cult. If elected, I believe the US will fall into a great depression unlike any they have seen. Also, I don't see anyone checking into his background. Is someone protecting him?

    November 4, 2011 01:11 am at 1:11 am |
  21. stranger in an increasingly strange land

    I cannot believe my eyes. A Republican candidate actually coming out with a thought out plan. I may not agree with it, but that does not matter one bit. I applaud Rommney for presenting a solid argument for his candidacy, without demeaning himself, his opposing candidates (the sinking ship of fools) or the current administration.

    In this particular silly season of the Republican Circus (one ring per candidate, all clowns), we now have a ringmaster who seems intent on bringing a modicrum of dignity to the whole sordid mess. Thank you Mr Rommney

    November 4, 2011 01:42 am at 1:42 am |
  22. idknothing

    Wow, that is the closest he has come to saying he would cut Social Security. We all know he thinks its a bad idea... goes right along with Obamacare. Hope he plans on returning all the money Americans have put into the program before he cuts it. Like the republicans always say... it is our money, so if you are going to cut it, you have to give it back.

    November 4, 2011 01:42 am at 1:42 am |
  23. normajean @ verizon ,com

    For some reason, I find it amazing to read of a multi-millionaire telling other people { any people} how to spend money.I can't picture how it must feel to have so much money that you never have to give ANY thought as to how you spend it. I wonder if this is the way he advises others , particularly when it isn't their own that they are passing around!!

    November 4, 2011 01:46 am at 1:46 am |
  24. Marry

    …a moral responsibility to believe in fiscal responsibility…
    Mr. Romney’s definition of “Moral” goes right along with “corporations are people”.

    November 4, 2011 04:24 am at 4:24 am |
  25. "The GOP biggest deception is getting the Poor and Middle class to believe they are out to help them"

    I bet ole Mitt is happy as a lark that all the attention is off him right now, so he can go around presenting this stuff with out any scrutiny from media or political pundits!! LOL
    Yeah Mitt you can breath right now!!! LOL

    November 4, 2011 04:30 am at 4:30 am |
1 2