Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney says it’s time to "reign in the excess" in Washington. The Republican candidate says if he’s elected president, he’ll veto bills in order to curb federal spending. "I’m convinced that we have to have that kind of fiscal strength and discipline in Washington, Romney says.
President Bush has vetoed just one bill, but Romney is reluctant to criticize Bush directly for what Romney describes as runaway federal spending. "I’m not going to try and contrast myself with the leader of my party. He has his own style, his own approach and he’s a man of great character and courage and I salute him," Romney says.
"I have my own views about how I would manage the setting. You can look at my record in Massachusetts and see that I was able to reach common ground with the Democratic leadership — not every time — but often enough to be able to do some pretty impotant things like balancing our budget without raising taxes; actually lowering taxes several times in Massachusetts."
Romney stresses his work as a Republican governor in a Democratic state like Massachusetts. "I believe that it’s possible for us to get Washington working again and I’m concerned about the degreee of partisan bickering. The rancor in Washington is virtually inexplicable," Romney says.
According to Romney, both political parties bear responsibility for the out-of-control spending at the federal level. "It’s not a Republican/Democrat thing. I think it’s a matter of Washington changing the way it does business…with a certain series of goals in mind," Romney says. "One of them is that we reign in spending."
Romney says he’ll let President Bush decide if his second veto is over the spending bill which sets a timeline for withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq. But Romney is critical of Democrats in Congress for inserting such a time table in the bill. "It is not up to Harry Reid or Nancy Pelosi to dictate to the commanders in the field or to the commander-in-chief," Romney says.
Romney is spending the day in Iowa and will hold an "ask Mitt anything" event tonight at his state campaign headquarters in suburban Des Moines. To listen to Romney’s remarks this morning during a news conference at the Iowa statehouse, click on the audio link below.