October 9th, 2012
09:43 PM ET
10 years ago

On Iran, Romney says he sees eye to eye with Netanyahu

(CNN) - Mitt Romney on Tuesday said that he would use the same test to evaluate Iran over its suspected nuclear weapons program as would Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

In a wide-ranging interview on CNN's "The Situation Room," the Republican presidential nominee also defended his proposed U.S. tax model and shed light on how he would handle the civil war in Syria.

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Romney told CNN's Wolf Blitzer that there should be "no daylight between the United States and Israel," and emphasized that military action against Iran would not be imminent.

"We share values, and we're both absolutely committed to preventing Iran from having a nuclear weapon," Romney said. "My own test is that Iran should not have the capability of producing a nuclear weapon. I think that's the same test that Benjamin Netanyahu would also apply."

Last month, Netanyahu asked the United Nations General Assembly to draw a "clear red line" to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

Holding up a picture of a bomb and drawing a line below the fuse, the Israeli prime minister said, "a red line should be drawn right here, before Iran completes a second stage of nuclear enrichment necessary to make a bomb, before Iran gets to a point where it's a few months away or a few weeks away from amassing enough enriched uranium to make a nuclear weapon."

Iran's ambassador to the United Nations has called Netanyahu's remarks "entirely baseless."

On Tuesday, Romney said "there's great hope and real prospects for dissuading Iran from taking a path that leads into a nuclear setting."

"Let's also recognize that we have a long way to go before military action may be necessary," Romney said. "And hopefully it's never necessary. Hopefully, through extremely tight sanctions, as well as diplomatic action, we can prevent Iran from taking a course which would lead to them crossing that line."

But should military action be necessary, he said "the actions of Israel would not come as a surprise to me," because he and the country's leaders would be in close touch.

Elsewhere in the region, Romney explained how he would handle the civil war in Syria: by working with allies in the region, particularly Turkey and Saudi Arabia, and identifying "voices within Syria that are reasonable voices, that are moderate voices, that are not al Qaeda or any jihadist-type group."

"We try to coalesce those groups together, provide them perhaps with funding," Romney said, also suggesting coordinating with those allies to arm the groups.

"But the key thing here is not just to sit back and hope things work out well, but to recognize that Iran is playing a major role in Syria, and we through our friends in the region must also be playing a role to ensure what's happening there and make sure we rid ourselves of Mr. Assad and don't have in his place chaos or some kind of organization which is as bad as he is or even worse take his place," he explained.

Domestically, Romney addressed Democratic criticism of his tax model, which he described as "inaccurate and wrong."

President Barack Obama charged at last Wednesday's debate that Romney's proposal to reduce rates would cost $5 trillion dollars, while Romney countered that he would not support a tax plan that would add to the federal deficit.

"The combination of limiting deductions and credits and exemptions as well as growth in our economy will make up for the reduction in rate," Romney told CNN Tuesday.

Pressed by Blitzer, Romney did not specify what credits and exemptions he would reduce, but he suggested two possible routes: to either limit the total amount in tax credits which could be claimed on a return, or put a ceiling on how much one could claim from a specific credit. The final plan, he said, would be worked out with Congress and follow four basic guidelines.

"I've made it pretty clear that my principles are: number one, simplify the code; number two, create incentives for small businesses and large businesses to grow; number three, don't reduce the burden on high-income taxpayers; and number four, remove the burden somewhat for middle-income people," he said. "So I don't want to raise taxes on any group of Americans."

Romney spoke to CNN shortly before holding a rally with supporters in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio.

Watch The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer weekdays at 4pm to 6pm ET and Saturdays at 6pm ET. For the latest from The Situation Room click here.

Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • TV-The Situation Room
soundoff (98 Responses)
  1. floyd hoover

    Romney wont add to the deficit and he wont charge his rich friends so ..I guess that leaves the middle class to pay the bill it's just republican same ol same ol . It dont take a genius to see where this is leading..How will job growth pay for it when we know he is in favor of rich companys ( the ones who could create those jobs) relocating overseas to help thier bottom line...

    October 10, 2012 04:46 am at 4:46 am |
  2. Name Moe

    Romney always bragging about his 5 sons, but none of them listed nor served in the military. Why? They're wealthy, because papa Romney dodge the draft, they're too uppity, Wealthy people don't fight wars. However he's quick to commit to his other wealthy friend Netanyahu to send the sons of the 47 percent to start a war with Iran? And, if that happens it will be the end of America as we know it, and it won't be for the better.

    October 10, 2012 04:51 am at 4:51 am |
  3. phil

    WAR!!!! Get the military industrial complex working again and send American boys and girls off to die!!! Oh wait, before we do that...how much oil is over there? Have to make sure its a worthwhile cause and all.

    October 10, 2012 04:54 am at 4:54 am |
  4. shelbyanne

    Romney is using his position as presidential candidate to ignite a war. Unnecessarily putting the country at risk..

    October 10, 2012 05:13 am at 5:13 am |
  5. Charlie in Maine

    "On Iran, Romney says he sees eye to eye with Netanyahu" Just in case you were looking for one more reason to vote for President Obama.

    October 10, 2012 05:32 am at 5:32 am |
  6. John

    number one, simplify the code; number two, create incentives for small businesses and large businesses to grow; number three, don't reduce the burden on high-income taxpayers; and number four, remove the burden somewhat for middle-income people

    Notice how he ranks his priorities. Middle class is always last for Romney. Oh by the way when he says he will let congress handle it, it means they will stick it to the middle class

    October 10, 2012 05:55 am at 5:55 am |
  7. bill

    Romney wants Florida Jewish vote. He recruited Netanyahu for help, time will tell. Some articles claim Romney has moved to the center, he was always been a moderate, the problem is, in the primaries he was a right winger, recently a centrist, next thirty days, who knows maybe a left winger.

    October 10, 2012 06:03 am at 6:03 am |
  8. these2lanes

    Romney is embarrassingly out of his depth in international issues. As president he will be a foreign policy disaster!!

    October 10, 2012 06:04 am at 6:04 am |
  9. Chmee

    If Romney's elected, expect yet another war in the Middle East, with Iran. That's all we need, thousands more Americans killed in another stupid, unnecessary war.

    October 10, 2012 06:05 am at 6:05 am |
  10. zoo

    Vote Romney and send your sons and daughters, but not not his off, to die in a war for Israel.

    October 10, 2012 06:31 am at 6:31 am |
  11. yoshi

    Mitt: I hope you are saying this to get donations and won't actually get us into ANOTHER WAR. The average America is sick of these wars that have cost us the lives of thousands of our young boys, maimed many more and drained trillions from our treasury. The Middle East doesn't want us meddling in their affairs so let's get out. You heard all the applause Ron Paul got during the debates – these wars are costly. We not only pay with our soldiers, we pay at the gas pump and with the huge cost of securing our nation. America First – we can't change the world.

    October 10, 2012 06:37 am at 6:37 am |
  12. Wes

    The business of America may be business, but America itself is not a business. That in and of itself is a confronting ideology that Mr. Romney must contend. When President Obama was elected in hopes of finding commonality and agreement among very divisive, derisively partisan groups it is became apparent that it was still not what one knows, but who one blows. We are not a nation to be fixed, rather we are a country of many vectors that need direction and an emphasizing philosophy. We need to put partisan cronyism and divisive hatred behind us that had constructed the congressional lust for power, and solve the many issues that face our national future. I believe in our president or any other president that shows resolve and character, but I would oppose with great vigor anyone who would falsely lead us with a hidden desire of theocracy, self aggrandizement, and promised allegiances that bonded us to a past of multiple failures and malignant decline in economy and global relations, Israel notwithstanding. I am far more inclined to keep President Obama and hope that his desire to resolve the differences of opposition will prevail over time and set a new tone of cooperation to find solutions among so many unresolved issues. The middle east will be an unsolved problem for a long time and our economy will need repair for a long period, but to alter our path and consider only corporate mentality of leadership is short sided and based on a view of greed and attachment to wealth placed above values of American virtue.

    October 10, 2012 06:39 am at 6:39 am |
  13. annette

    sounds like mitt has a new "war" in our future.

    October 10, 2012 06:44 am at 6:44 am |
  14. sufferingsuckotash

    He means to say he will make America a shill for Israel because his piggy bank is full of Israel's money. He will gladly bow to the whim of Israel, even if that means sending our kids off to war with Iran that stands isolated and is no more dangerous with a nuke than Pakistan or India or North Korea or China or Israel itself for that matter. Mitt Romney has no issue with selling out on America, He has been doing it for years. Your Dice, Your Roll, But as for myself, I'm not taking any chances with Mr. Etcha-Sketch.

    October 10, 2012 06:49 am at 6:49 am |
  15. Craig in Pa.

    No military experience whatsover but he knows how to wage war!...If Israel wants to start something with Iran...let them do it themselves...we have too many of our own problems to deal with..This election is about America not Israel...Bibi is too good of a freind of Romney...If you want WWIII, vote Republican!

    October 10, 2012 07:00 am at 7:00 am |
  16. fiftyfive55

    There have been enough "RED LINES" drawn in the mideast sand to circle the earth 10 times.The AMERICAN PEOPLE say no more,we dont want any more American lives lost for a lost cause,period.The mideast is,and always shall be,the world's black hole of death and we are fed up with politicians constantly tossing Americans into it.Nothing ever changes in the mideast and the only people who dont seem to understand this is our politicians or are they heavy stockholders in the munitons supply companies ?

    October 10, 2012 07:16 am at 7:16 am |
  17. dsangiovanni

    This guy will star looking for WMD in Iran amd the whole world will be in a mess, again, probably worse...

    October 10, 2012 07:29 am at 7:29 am |
  18. Hammerdown

    When pushed for details about his plan, Romney explained that
    he has a number 1, and a number 2.
    That should keep all you libtards happy.

    Get ready for Americans coming home in body bags from Syria and Iran.
    You Republican supporters who have swallowed all of the lies
    are going to regret your decision, and we will ALL pay a big price for it.

    October 10, 2012 07:31 am at 7:31 am |
  19. Amadea

    What is Romney saying that is different from Obama? "Let's recognize that we have a long way to go before military may be necessary. Hopefully it's never necessary." Meanwhile, Mr. Netanyahu is saying that time is of the essence ... that there isn't that much time left for negotiation. The US is so deeply in debt that another war is simply unimaginable ... and the world knows it ... and so do both the President and Mr. Romney.

    October 10, 2012 07:32 am at 7:32 am |
  20. Painless Kolob extraction for FREE

    well of course he does... has anyone read the book of Mormon? of course you haven't ... they think they are intergalactic aliens who became earth Jews then wandered into America long before columbus to became the indigenous American Indian then the message was delivered to a WASP... joseph smith in a dream. Mitt will always take the side of Israel even to the gates of armageddon.

    October 10, 2012 07:32 am at 7:32 am |
  21. hadeenuff

    Plain and simple: if Isreal doesn't have our back, it will eventually get absorbed by the Muslims by force.

    October 10, 2012 07:34 am at 7:34 am |
  22. Mete Krop

    If Romney would be a president, I don't have any doubt that the USA would be engaged in two or three wars around the world. He feels war monger so strongly.

    October 10, 2012 07:34 am at 7:34 am |
  23. Anonymous

    sounds like Romney Netanyahu should "get a room"

    October 10, 2012 07:35 am at 7:35 am |
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