Campaign 2012: Obama vs. Romney

In separate interviews, President Barack Obama and his challenger, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, discuss the election year's hot-button issues

Romney: That's right. Middle income people will probably see a little break, because there'll be no tax on their savings.

Pelley: Now, you made on your investments, personally, about $20 million last year. And you paid 14 percent in federal taxes. That's the capital gains rate. Is that fair to the guy who makes $50,000 and paid a higher rate than you did?

Romney: It is a low rate. And one of the reasons why the capital gains tax rate is lower is because capital has already been taxed once at the corporate level, as high as 35 percent.

Pelley: So you think it is fair?

Romney: Yeah, I think it's the right way to encourage economic growth, to get people to invest, to start businesses, to put people to work.

Pelley: And corporate tax rates?

Romney: Corporate tax rates, also, I'd bring down and with the same idea. Let's get rid of some of the loopholes, deductions, special deals, such that we're able to pay for the reduction. I don't want a reduction in revenue coming into the government.

We followed the governor last week on his relentless schedule; campaigning, raising money, practicing for the debates. And in Boston, we asked him exactly which tax deductions and exemptions he intended to eliminate.

Romney: Well, that's something Congress and I will have to work out together. My experience with the government--

Pelley: You're asking the American people to hire you as president of the United States. They'd like to hear some specifics.

Romney: Well, I can tell them specifically what my policy looks like. I will not raise taxes on middle income folks. I will not lower the share of taxes paid by high income individuals. And I will make sure that we bring down rates, we limit deductions and exemptions so we can keep the progressivity in the code, and we encourage growth in jobs.

Pelley: And the devil's in the details, though. What are we talking about, the mortgage deduction, the charitable deduction?

Romney: The devil's in the details. The angel is in the policy, which is creating more jobs.

Pelley: You have heard the criticism, I'm sure, that your campaign can be vague about some things. And I wonder if this isn't precisely one of those things?

Romney: It's very much consistent with my experience as a governor which is, if you want to work together with people across the aisle, you lay out your principles and your policy, you work together with them, but you don't hand them a complete document and say, "Here, take this or leave it." Look, leadership is not a take it or leave it thing. We've seen too much of that in Washington.

Pelley: You talk about balancing the budget without raising taxes. But to do that, you would have to have trillions of dollars in budget cuts. So let's be specific in this interview: what would you cut?

Romney: The first big one is I'm not going to go forward with Obamacare. I will repeal Obamacare. It costs about $100 billion a year. Second big area is taking major government programs at the federal level, turning them back to the states, where they'll grow at the rate of inflation, not at a multiple of that rate. And that saves about $100 billion a year. And finally, I'll cut back on the size of government itself, as well as go after the fraud and abuse and inefficiency that's always part of a large institution like our government.

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