March 27th, 2012
09:59 PM ET
11 years ago

Leno gets serious with Romney

Burbank, California (CNN) – What do you get when you pair Mitt Romney with a late-night comedian?

A pretty serious interview, as it turns out.

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In an interview with "Tonight Show" host Jay Leno, Romney, a famously cautious campaigner who is occasionally teased for his on-camera stiffness, spent a few minutes cracking jokes before moving to serious back-and-forth over health care overhaul.

When repeatedly pressed by Leno over his plans to repeal President Obama’s health care law, Romney said under his own plan some individuals with pre-existing conditions would be guaranteed coverage.

“As long as you have been continuously insured, you ought to be able to get insurance going forward,” Romney said, but added that security would not be extended to so-called free-riders who only apply for insurance once they fall ill.

“If they are 45 years old and they show up and say I want insurance because I have heart disease, it's like, hey guys - we can't play the game like that,” Romney said.

The pre-existing coverage provision in Obama’s health care plan is highly popular.

Leno also asked Romney to weigh in on other prominent Republicans – and potential vice presidential picks – during a game of word association. Asked to sum up his rival Rick Santorum, Romney responded: “press secretary.”

The quip was an apparent reference to a dust-up between Santorum and a reporter earlier this week.

The GOP candidate’s other responses:

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie: “indomitable”
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio: “the American dream"
Rep. Paul Ryan, author of House Republicans’ budget proposal: “creative”
Real estate mogul Donald Trump: “huge”

Romney also offered Leno his thoughts on an unexpected vice presidential option: Leno’s late-night rival David Letterman.

“I can do you a favor with this,” Romney said. “I’ll choose David Letterman, help us both out.”

Notably, Leno, who is famous for his extensive car collection, did not ask Romney about a report about the four-car garage with a car elevator the candidate is hoping to add to his La Jolla, California, home.

Also see:

Palin congratulates Santorum over 'bulls-' remark

Gingrich campaign charges $50 for photos

Paul: Don't count me out

Romney not worried about Sanoturm, labels Russia No. 1 'foe'

Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney
soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. Larry L

    Americans are showing how foolish a population can be regarding their wishes for healthcare coverage. We want to be able to ignore all of our responsibility for health – we still smoke and we eat like pigs at the trough – fat and ugly pigs. We aren't just "plump" or "heavy' – we're really, really fat. We expect insurance companies to take us on as risks – at the same rate as the healthy and fit applicant. We also want to be able to spend unlimited fortunes to extend our lives, with no cap on the amount. We also want to never be dropped from our policies. Here's the real truth... these desires are impossible to attain as long as the insurance pool doesn't include everybody. The healthy must pay into the pool to sock some money aside until they need it – and they will. It must be mandatory or the math simply doesn't work. Republican fat-cats don't want Obamacare because they don't need the insurance. They will have great healthcare regardless of the costs and it galls them to think that average people will get the same great care under a government-sponsored plan – like every top-tier nation in the world operates except the US.

    March 27, 2012 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  2. Little Jimmy Truth


    With Romney = Serious

    With Obama = Clown

    March 27, 2012 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
  3. Gumdrop

    "Romney said under his own plan some individuals with pre-existing conditions would be guaranteed coverage. " Only some? Only those with contiguous coverage. So if you lose you job and lose you insurance coverage you are just out of luck. As for those that you don't allow insurance, what are they supposed to do? I guess they are supposed to die.

    March 27, 2012 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm |
  4. Blindersoff

    Jay Leno who?

    March 27, 2012 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
  5. Thomas

    Meet the next president of the United States whose five sons avoided military service during Americas longest wars.

    LaterDay Reagan.

    March 28, 2012 12:15 am at 12:15 am |
  6. BinMes

    Leno is a Republican. I would prefer to have the mitten interveiwed by someone a bit less a shill than leno.

    March 28, 2012 01:35 am at 1:35 am |
  7. king

    Leno you should have ask Romney, what will he replace Obama care with, how many Americans will be covered and how would he pay for it. I am tired of these repubs pushing out talking points of the president, and never have a viable solution. Ask him how the market will react when he kills 1/6 of the economy, which is the healthcare law, and kick 30 million folks to the side. Healthcare is the only program in America hiring month, after month, after month, in anticipation of 30 million more customers. Where will all these folks find jobs, where will all these small businesses find customers and medical product to sell, when the medical field loses 30 million customers

    March 28, 2012 02:13 am at 2:13 am |
  8. 4 More Years

    No thanks Mittens!!!

    March 28, 2012 05:52 am at 5:52 am |
  9. Marie MD

    He can't be anything but serious. The man has the personality of a rock. Then again, a rock is a more beautiful piece of nature. Must be nice to make $10M a year just from interest on US banking accounts. Who knows how much he has in the Cayman Islands.
    Good for you flip flopper, you open mouth and insert foot again. Why wouldn't you be able to get insurance if you fall ill? Right, those teapublikan death panels. I bet you still have insurance from Massachusetts.

    March 28, 2012 06:35 am at 6:35 am |
  10. FedUp

    Santorum – Press Secretary? I would say Romney – dog catcher. OOPS! Can't do that one either – he would tie them to the roof.

    March 28, 2012 07:16 am at 7:16 am |
  11. Bev

    i can not wait for these other guys to drop out so we can look to nov & beating obama

    March 28, 2012 07:30 am at 7:30 am |
  12. Just Say No to Flipper

    "Rep. Paul Ryan, author of House Republicans’ budget proposal: “creative”"

    LOL! Even Rmoney knows that Ryan's plan is as fictional as the unicorns in some "creative" fairytale.

    March 28, 2012 07:52 am at 7:52 am |