Presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney says President Barack Obama is having a tough time finding “a message that somehow will allow him to get re-elected.” The former Massachusetts governor also reiterated to Fox News’ Sean Hannity Tuesday his first priority would be to “get rid of Obamacare.”
“He really doesn’t have a narrative that suggests why he should be the president for four more years,” Romney said, adding that while Obama, “of course, did not cause the downturn,” his policies “have made it harder for the economy to recover.”
Romney again repeated his formula for reducing the debt and putting the nation back on track to a balanced budget.
First, he said, he would “get rid of Obamacare,” then eliminate other programs the country can no longer afford to pay for with borrowed money, and cap the rate of growth on programs that are still necessary, such as Medicaid.
Finally, he said he would reduce the number of federal employees over time through attrition.
“You do these things and by eight to 10 years America has a balanced budget, and now you start generating the kind of returns that allow us to start paying down the debt,” he said.
Romney said his efforts would involve much more, though, than simply cutting the size of government.
“My policies are not just finding ways to reduce the size of government, important as that is,” he said. “They are also finding ways to get the private sector growing again, putting people back to work, and getting incomes up.”
Ann Romney, who was interviewed alongside her husband, also weighed in the nation’s economic situation, saying people feel insecure about their jobs and are worried about the effect the rising debt will have on their children’s future.
“It’s the desperation that they feel,” Ann Romney said. “And the words they use most frequently [are], ‘Please save the country.’ And if you want to go even further, it’s, ‘Please save my children’s future.’ And that’s what I’m hearing from women.”
“It is imperative that Mitt win,” she added. “It’s not even like a choice anymore.”
Romney was also asked about his position on immigration in the interview.
He again shied away from commenting on whether he would reverse Obama’s order this week granting temporary relief from deportation for young undocumented immigrants. But he said he “presumed” the order would be challenged in the courts.
As for his own policy on immigration, Romney said, “My own view is, with regards to illegal immigration, we have to secure the border first, we have to have an employment verification system, and number three, we have to give these kids an understanding of what their long-term future in America will be.
“And those that serve in the military, for instance, “I think should be given the green card with the occasion to stay in this country the rest of their life if they would like to,” he said.
Romney again described Obama’s order as “a stopgap measure,” adding, “These kids don’t want a stopgap measure. They want some permanence in understanding what their status is going to be.”
Turning to foreign policy, Romney said the “biggest threat we face as a nation is, of course, a nuclear Iran.”
He suggested the president should pressure Turkey and Saudi Arabia into providing “the elements” Syrian insurgents need to topple the Bashar al-Assad regime there, which in turn would put more pressure on Iran.
He said the loss of Syria as Iran’s top ally in the region might force Tehran to reconsider its nuclear development program.
“There is an extraordinarily high priority and opportunity for us to push back against the plans of Iran, he said. But, Romney added, “At the same time, we have to be preparing in this nation for the kind of military options that might be necessary if Iran were to pursue their nuclear calling.
Romney also used the interview to stress that he has not yet decided on a vice presidential running mate. But said whoever his pick turns out to be, it will be someone capable of taking over immediately in the event he is no longer able to serve as president.
“That is the most important element,” he said. “Would the American people, and would I, see this person as someone who could lead in that kind of eventuality.”
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