Having won the CPAC presidential straw poll and beginning to pass long time front-runner John McCain in national polls former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney‘s stock is clearly rising. He’s going to be an important factor in Republican presidential politics and could well be the 2008 nominee. I was very glad to be able to have a few minutes with the candidate last week to ask him some very direct questions about his position on some of the most important issues. I acknowledge, as does he, that he has not always believed as he does today. I — for one — was satisfied in talking with him that these are his genuinely held positions.
His answers, in his own words:
Governor, I speak to a large audience of “values voters” on-air live from New York every day. Where would you place yourself today in the debate over abortion… unedited?
Romney: Well, I’m pro-life. This is an issue I’ve looked at and I recognize a great struggle in the American psyche as we look at the needs of the unborn child, which I feel very deeply. And at the same time we are concerned about women and the choices that they would like to make with their own bodies and their own lives. And I’ve come down squarely on the side of life. I feel it is important for us to protect human life if we are going to be a civilized society. For that reason some two years ago I authored a piece in the Boston Globe that explained why I am pro-life and I am proud of that position.
Governor, as you are aware there is a fundamental battle on the issue of marriage in our society today, where do you stand on that fundamental issue of marriage?
Romney: I believe it is critical that we have marriage before we have babies. And the reason for that is I want our kids to grow up with a mom and a dad. If at all possible. That’s the ideal setting for raising a child. If there can be a Dad involved in their life as well as a great mom, that child has a much better chance of getting a great education. When there is a single mom the chance that the child is going to be raised in poverty is 51%. Where the mom is married, that is only 7%. So let’s have, if we can more marriage before we have more babies.
Governor, as you know, church goers are very concerned about a secular progressive attempt to redefine marriage to make it become anything other than what it has traditionally been understood, what does Mitt Romney say about that?
Romney: Marriage must be a relationship between a man and a woman. And this shouldn’t be based on concerns about supposed “adult rights.” This is instead focused on what I think is critical for a child. The ideal setting to raise a child is where there is a mom and a dad involved in their life.
What is your view to the classic struggle we fight against today in the Global War against terror and particularly in Iraq? Especially in what we are seeing today?
Romney: With regards to Iraq, we have not managed the conflict following the collapse of Saddam Hussein terribly well. But that being said we shouldn’t turn and run out. Doing that would result in a regional conflict that would draw us back in – in a more harmful and frightful way. And so the President is right to add additional troops, to secure Baghdad. We’re going to see if that’s working in the next several months, and if it is we’ll keep at it and if its not we move to plan “B.”
The governor’s time was so extremely limited I was not able to probe as to what plan “B” was. What I did perceive is that Romney’s team is truly focused, and that a plan “B” does in fact mean — all out victory, not collapse to the enemy.
There will be more opportunity to dig deeper on the issues that we all care about. Had I more time I would have asked about his position on tax reductions, second amendment, educational reform, and yes tort reforms. But these are the three non-negotiables for me. No candidate will be able to secure my vote without these three issues being properly addressed.
Giuliani has addressed them and fallen short on two of the three. McCain has failed marriage miserably. McCain also recently stated that he just didn’t get “juiced” talking about the life issue.
It was nice to see Romney not hesitate, try to duck, or shade language to make it mean something other than it does. Pro-life, pro-marriage, and pro-U.S.A. in the conflict against terrorists, that’s a positive and powerful combination.