Mitt Romney in 2008 GOP debate in Boca Raton Florida

On Budget & Economy: Make sure that we rein in spending

Weíre going to have to make sure that we rein in spending. Itís not just we all agree on the earmarks & the pork barrel spending & the ďBridge to Nowhere.Ē But the big one is entitlements & reining in entitlement costs, and thatís where the big dollars are. What youíre seeing in a weakening dollar, in a declining stock market, in foreign countries coming here to buy into our banks, youíre seeing the foundation of our economy being shaken by that we havenít been doing the job that needs to be done.
Source: 2008 GOP debate in Boca Raton Florida Jan 24, 2008

On Budget & Economy: Support some kind of national catastrophic fund

I do support some kind of national catastrophic effort to make sure that people can get homeownerís insurance that protects them against flood or hurricane or tornado or whatever natural disaster might occur, or man-made disaster in some cases. People wh live along the coastline across the Atlantic have the same problem. Getting homeownerís insurance is oftentimes almost impossible. So what weíre going to have to do, as you just indicated, weíre going to have to work together to create a program that get people in high-risk areas insured. Now, Iím not in favor of saying that the people in Iowa should have to subsidize the people in Massachusetts or Florida--that doesnít make a lot of sense--but to have those states that are in high-risk areas come together and say, ďHow do we organize an effort on a national basis that actuarially deals with the differences between different states and the different risks they face and make sure that we have a backstop behind the private insurance industry?Ē
Source: 2008 GOP debate in Boca Raton Florida Jan 24, 2008

On Corporations: Key to economic stimulus: get companies to buy more stuff

Q: The presidentís economic stimulus plan would send out 116 million checks to American homes. The plan is somewhat contrary to yours, providing lots of short-term stimulus to individuals. Your plan focuses as much on the long term as the short term. Are you disappointed that your recipe for the economy was not embraced by the president? And will you now embrace his plan?

A: Well, thereís a great deal that is effective in his plan. First, heís getting money back to consumers. That makes sense to me I just think we need to go further. We go to corporate support and helping corporations have the incentive to buy more capital equipment. That he also does. I do it more aggressively by writing off a larger amount of capital expenditures--getting companies to buy more stuff so that other companies will hire people. If you want to turn an economy around, the key thing is to grow jobs. Itís not just to get checks in the hands of consumers; itís consumers & companies buying things that create jobs.

Source: 2008 GOP debate in Boca Raton Florida Jan 24, 2008

On Government Reform: Use my own money in a campaign to try and change the US

Iíve been successful in life, enough to be able to save enough money. Iím using that money in a campaign for a presidency to try and change this country. Iím concerned about the US my kids will inherit and their kids will inherit and the kids of the entire nation will inherit, and I want to make sure that we have a strong and vibrant nation. I happen to think that at a time like this, we need someone whose life has been in the private sector, who knows how the US works; not just how Washington works
Source: 2008 GOP debate in Boca Raton Florida Jan 24, 2008

On Government Reform: Not concerned about voters on his campaign self-contribution

Q: Why not tell the voters how much of your own wealth youíre spending so they can factor that into their own decision?

A: Iím not concerned about the voters. Iím much more concerned about the other guys on this stage. Itís competitive information we make sure that we use for our own benefit. I made a substantial contribution. I canít imagine having gone to my friends and asked them to do what theyíve done, going out and raising money in my behalf, without saying Iím going to put some of my contributions behind this effort as well, because frankly, itís important. Given the contributions I made in this race, I know I owe no one anything. I donít have some group there that I have a special obligation to that raised money for me. Iím by far the biggest contributor to my own campaign. People can count on the fact that thereís no nobody that can call me and say, ďHey, look, you owe me,Ē because they donít.

Source: 2008 GOP debate in Boca Raton Florida Jan 24, 2008

On Gun Control: Support the 2nd Amendment AND the assault weapon ban

I do support the Second Amendment. I would have signed the assault weapon ban that came to his desk. I said I would have supported that and signed a similar bill in our state. It was a bill worked out, by the way, between pro-gun lobby and anti-gun lobby individuals. Both sides of the issue came together and found a way to provide relaxation in licensing requirements and allow more people to--to have guns for their own legal purposes. So we signed that in Massachusetts, and Iíd support that at the federal level. It did not pass at the federal level. I do not believe we need new legislation. I do not support any new legislation of an assault weapon ban nature, including that against semiautomatic weapons. We have laws in place that, if theyíre implemented & enforced, will provide the protection and the safety of the American people. I do support the right of individuals to bear arms, whether for hunting purposes or for protection purposes or any other reasons. Thatís the right that people have
Source: 2008 GOP debate in Boca Raton Florida Jan 24, 2008

On Health Care: Get everyone some form of catastrophic health coverage

We found a way to get everybody insured with private free-market health insurance. I do support an effort to get everybody some form of catastrophic coverage. It may be a public-private partnership between private insurance industries and the federal government. It may be done with the states. But Iíll bring together the governors of all 50 states, leadership in Washington, and industry representatives, to say, ďWhatís the right way to fashion this that makes the most sense for the people of America?
Source: 2008 GOP debate in Boca Raton Florida Jan 24, 2008

On Homeland Security: Add 100,000 to the military without a draft

Q: How do you increase the size of the military without a draft?

A: Iím recommending that we add 100,000 active-duty personnel to our military. Weíre right now at about 1.5 million. Take that up to about 1.6 million. We found in our state that we were losing enrollees for the National Guard at about 6% per year. And the legislature and I got together and passed something called the Welcome Home Bill. We said if youíll sign up for the National Guard, weíll pay for your entire education for four years. We put in some other benefits as well--life insurance and other features that we decided to pay for. The result of that was, the next year enrollments went up 30%. So if we want more people to sign up for the military, we have to improve the deal. Our GI Bill has gotten a little old. We need to update our funding level for that, so that young people who go into the military get a full ride as they come home and get to go into college.

Source: 2008 GOP debate in Boca Raton Florida Jan 24, 2008

On Principles & Values: Donít think religion figuring into this race

When the Constitution and the founders said no religious test shall ever be required for qualification for office or public trust in the US that the founders meant just that. And I donít believe for a minute that Republicans, or Americans for that matter, are going to impose a religious test when the founders said itís as un-American as anything you can think of.

I donít think youíre going to see religion figuring into this race after people have had a chance to get to know all the candidates.

Source: 2008 GOP debate in Boca Raton Florida Jan 24, 2008

On Social Security: Will try to fix Social Security without raising taxes

Q: Will you do for Social Security what Reagan did in 1983?

A: Iím not going to raise taxes. Not only are you taking money away from their pocketbooks, youíre also slowing down the economy. You slow down the economy, more people lose work. More people lose work, of course, youíre having a lot of folks that really have their lives turned upside down. So, raising taxes is just something you donít want to do. Weíre going to have to sit down with the Democrats and say, letís have a compromise on these three elements that could get us to bring Social Security into economic balance. You can have personal accounts where people can invest in something that does better than government bonds--with some portion of their Social Security. Weíre going to have the initial benefit calculations for wealthier Americans calculated based on the Consumer Price Index rather than the wage index. That saves almost two-thirds of the shortfall. You can change the retirement age. You can push it out a little bit.

Source: 2008 GOP debate in Boca Raton Florida Jan 24, 2008

On Tax Reform: I support the Bush tax cuts

I support the Bush tax cuts. The Bush tax cuts helped get our economy going again when we faced the last tough times. Thatís why right now, as we face tough times, we need to have somebody who understands, has the private sector, the business world, the economy in their DNA. I do. I spent my life in the private sector. I know how jobs come & how they go, and Iíll make sure that we create more good jobs for this nation. One way to do that is by holding down taxes & making those tax cuts permanent.
Source: 2008 GOP debate in Boca Raton Florida Jan 24, 2008

On War & Peace: It was the right decision to go into Iraq

It was the right decision to go into Iraq. I supported it at the time; I support it now. It was not well managed in after the takedown of Saddam Hussein and his military. That was done brilliantly, an extraordinary success. But in the years that followed, we were undermanaged, underprepared, underplanned, understaffed, and then we come into the phase that we have now. The plan that Bush and General Petraeus put together is working. Itís changing lives there. Perhaps most importantly, itís making sure that al Qaeda and no other group like them is becoming a superpower, if you will, in the communities, and having a safe haven from which they launch attacks against us. Itís critical for us. The most important issue is what do we do now, and their just run and retreat regardless of the consequences is going to be a real problem for them when they face a debate with a Republican on the stage.
Source: 2008 GOP debate in Boca Raton Florida Jan 24, 2008

The above quotations are from 2008 Republican presidential debate in Boca Raton, on Jan. 24, 2008, the eve of the Florida primary. Moderated by NBC's Brian Williams; hosted by the St. Petersburg Times..
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