Mitt Romney: Mubarak Should "Step Out of the Way"

Mitt Romney on ABC's "Good Morning America," Feb. 1, 2011.
Mitt Romney on ABC's "Good Morning America," Feb. 1, 2011.

Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney urged the Obama administration to press for the resignation of Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak on Tuesday, and said it was time for Mubarak to listen to Egyptian protesters and "step out of the way."

"I think what the United States has to do is make it very clear to the people in Egypt that we stand with the voices of democracy and freedom," Romney said on ABC's "Good Morning America."

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Romney added that it was important for the administration to made clear "that we would like to see a transition to permanent democracy -- not just a one time, one vote and then the extremists take over, but instead a permanent democracy with the rule of law, with support for the allies that have existed in the past."

Effecting such a change "would be best undertaken if President Mubarak were to step out of the way or lead the transition," Romney continued.

Romney added, however, that it he would not advise President Obama to explicitly call for Mubarak's resignation.

"I don't know that I would say to the president, 'You should call for Mubarak's resignation," he said. "That, I think, flies in the face of a long history of friendship between he and our country and our friends. But it's very clear that he needs to move on."

The prospective GOP presidential candidate, who was on the show to promote his new book, also spoke about Monday's controversial federal health care ruling in Florida, which deemed the reform law unconstitutional.

Calling the law "a very bad piece of legislation," Romney argued that it was time for Mr. Obama to "press the pause button" on the federal health care overhaul.

"The right thing for the president to do now, with these decisions saying his bill is unconstitutional, with the House taking action to repeal it, with the Senate considering doing so, he should press the pause button and say 'You know what, let's hold back on this 'Obamacare,'" he said.

Romney has received criticism from the right for having enacted a health care law in Massachusetts during his tenure as governor similar to that which Democrats passed last year. He has argued, however, that the laws differ fundamentally given that one was enacted on a state level and one on a federal level.

"We don't need the federal government imposing a one-size-fits-all plan on the entire nation," he said.

But the presidential candidate emphasized that he was not apologizing for his own health care law.

"I'm not apologizing for it, I'm indicating that we went in one direction and there are other possible directions. I'd like to see states pursue their own ideas, see which ideas work best," Romney said.

Romney has yet to announce a decision about a possible 2012 presidential bid, but many pundits believe his official entrance into the race is just a matter of time.

"I haven't made a decision yet," said Romney, whose PAC leads other potential GOP contenders in terms of fundraising, according to Politico. "I'm inclined to make sure there's someone in the race that really understands how the economy works and can get jobs back." 

When asked what mistakes he would avoid in a prospective 2012 bid, Romney responded that "I'm sure I'll avoid some of the mistakes I made last time, but I'll make new ones this time."