"Face the Nation" transcripts, June 17, 2012: Gov. Romney, Senator Graham, Gov. Dean
BOB SCHIEFFER: You were one of the vast majority of Republicans who signed the pledge that was circulated by the leading anti-tax advocate Grover Norquist, "No new taxes under any circumstance." And I remember once back during one of the primaries, you-- you were asked if you would agree to one dollar in-- in taxes if you could get ten dollars cut in spending cuts, and you said at that time, no, I wouldn't even accept that. Do you still feel that way?
MITT ROMNEY: Well, we all felt that way. And-- and the reason is that government, at all levels today, consumes about thirty-seven percent of our economy.
BOB SCHIEFFER: But do you still--
MITT ROMNEY (voice overlapping): Let me go on and explain--
BOB SCHIEFFER (voice overlapping): --how?
MITT ROMNEY: --and-- and the answer is I do feel that way. Government is big and getting larger, and there are those who think well, the answer is just to take a little more from the American people, just give us a little more and-- and there are places that have gone that way. California, for instance, keeps raising taxes more and more and more. And funny thing, the more they raise in taxes, the deficits get larger and larger. The only solution to taming an out-of-control spending government is to cut spending and my policies reduce the rate of spending, bring government expenses from twenty-five percent-- federal expenses from twenty-five percent of the economy down to twenty percent and ignite growth of our economy. That's the way that we're going to balance our budget is getting people back to work with rising incomes again. So, we're going to get bigger tax revenues as a-- as a result of that good news.
BOB SCHIEFFER: We-- we know, Governor, you've told us, you haven't been bashful about telling us where you want to cut taxes. When are you going to tell us where you're going to get the revenue? Which of the deductions are you going to be willing to eliminate? Which of the tax credits are you going to-- when will you going to be able to tell us that?
MITT ROMNEY: Well, we'll go through that process with Congress as to which of all the different deductions and exemptions are the ones--
BOB SCHIEFFER (voice overlapping): But do you have any ideas now, like, the home mortgage interest deduction, you know, various ones?
MITT ROMNEY: Well, Simpson-Bowles went through a process of saying how they would be able to reach a-- a setting where they had actually, under their proposal even more revenue for the government with lower rates. So mathematically, it's been proved to be possible. We can have lower rates, as I propose, that creates more growth, and we can limit deductions and exemptions--
BOB SCHIEFFER: But you're not--
MITT ROMNEY: --but my view-- my-- my view is the right way to do that is to limit them for high-income individuals because I want to keep the progressivity of the code. One-- one of the absolute requirements of any tax reform that I have in mind is that people who are at the high end, whether you call them the one percent or two percent or half a percent, that people at the high end will still pay the same share of the tax burden they're paying now. I'm not looking for a tax cut for the very wealthiest. I'm looking to bring tax rates down for everyone, and, also, to make sure that we stimulate growth by doing so and jobs. For me, this is all about creating good jobs.
BOB SCHIEFFER: But people at the top would-- would be paying the same-- basically the same--
MITT ROMNEY (voice overlapping): Share.
BOB SCHIEFFER: --at the same share (INDISTINCT) beginning.
MITT ROMNEY: Yeah, I'd be looking for-- I think that's important to say, look, I'm not looking to reduce the burden paid by the wealthiest.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Okay.
MITT ROMNEY: I'm looking to keep the burden paid by the wealthiest as the same share as it is today.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Let me turn to foreign policy. And Bill Kristol writing in The Weekly Standard this week, says, "We are reaching the time of consequence in our dealing with Iran on nuclear weapons." He says it is time for the President to go to the Congress and say, "I want you to authorize me to be able to use military force, if that becomes necessary. And he says if the President is not willing to do that, then the Congress should do it-- themselves. What's your take on that?
MITT ROMNEY: Well, I-- I can understand the reason for his-- his recommendation and his concern. I think he's recognized that this President has communicated in some respects that, well, he might even be more worried about Israel taking direct military action than he is about Iran becoming nuclear. That's the opinion of some who watch this. And so, he wants the President to take action that shows that a military-- excuse me, that a nuclear Iran is unacceptable. And I-- and I believe it's important for us to communicate that. I can assure you if I'm President, the Iranians will have no question but that I would be willing to take military action, if necessary, to prevent them from becoming a nuclear threat to the world. I-- I don't believe at this stage, therefore, if I'm President, that we need to have war powers approval or a special authorization for military force. The President has that capacity now. I understand that some in the Senate, for instance, have written letters to the President indicating you should know that-- that a-- a containment strategy is unacceptable. We cannot survive a-- a course of action which would include a nuclear Iran, and we must be willing to take any and all action, they must all-- all those actions must be on the table.
BOB SCHIEFFER: What have you learned out here on the campaign trail? You say you've been talking to regular folks. What are they telling you?
MITT ROMNEY: Well, it's fun going across the country. This has been a great and thrilling experience. I-- I come away impressed with how patriotic people are, how much they love this country, how much they respect the principles that made us a unique nation? I come away impressed with the entrepreneurialism of the American people in tough times. A lot of people have found ways to make do and-- and make better. People are, however, tired of being tired. These have been long years, three and a half years of a very difficult economy, and in a lot of cases, a lot of disappointment, disappointment with the President and with his policies. I-- I hear from small business people day in and day out why is it that my government seems to think I'm their enemy? They feel they're under attack by their own government. We've got to change the attitude in this country. We-- we've got to recognize we're all in this together. Let's not divide Americans. Let's come together and say to business creators, job creators, we want you to succeed. We want you to hire more people. How can we help? Government has to be the friend of the American people.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Now, Governor, I'm-- I'm running out of time here, but it just prompts me to ask you this question. The country is deeply divided. The Congress is deeply divided. What is it that you think you can bring to it to bring the two sides together because they're a long way apart right now?
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