Mother Jones has released the full, unedited video of Romney’s exclusive fundraising event with rich donors, an event at which he apparently felt he could speak freely about his real feelings about Americans and the President. The following is the transcript of Part I of the secretly recorded video.
“The President’s foreign policy in my opinion is formed in part by a perception he has that his magnetism and his charm and his persuasiveness is so compelling that he can sit down with people like Putin and Chavez and Ahmadinejad and they’ll find he’s such wonderful people that he’ll go on with us and they’ll stop doing bad things. And it’s an extraordinarily naive perception and it’s led to errors in North Korea, in Iraq, obviously in Iran and Egypt, around the world. My own view is that the centerpiece of American foreign policy has to be strength. Everything I do will be calculated to increasing America’s strength. When you stand by your allies, you increase your strength. When you attack your allies, you get weak. When you stand by your principles you get stronger, when you have a big military that’s bigger than anyone else’s you’re stronger. When you have a strong economy you build America’s strength. For me everything is about strength. And communicating to people what is and is not acceptable. It’s speaking softly but carrying a very very very big stick. And this president instead speaks loudly and carries a tiny stick. And that is a, that’s not the right course for a foreign policy.
I saw Dr. Kissinger in New York . . . I saw Dr. Kissinger, I said to him, how are we perceived around the world, and he said one word, “Weak.” We are weak. And that’s how this President is perceived, by our friends and unfortunately by our foes. And it’s no wonder that people like Kim Jong Il – the new leader of North Korea – announces a long range missile test only a week after he said he wouldn’t because it’s like what’s this president going to do about it? You know, if you can’t act, don’t threaten. [Back talk.]
One of the things that’s frustrating to me is that on a typical day like this when I do three or four events like this the number of foreign policy questions I get are between zero and one. And the American people are not concentrated at all upon China, on Russia, Iran, Iraq, this president’s failure to put in place a status of forces agreement allowing 10-20,000 troops to stay in Iraq, unthinkable. And yet in that election, in the Jimmy Carter election, the fact that we had hostages in Iran, I mean, that was all we talked about, and we had the two helicopters crash in the desert, I mean, that was the focus and so him solving that made all the difference in the world. I’m afraid today, if you simply got Iran to agree to stand down on nuclear weapons, this is really a . . . something of that nature presents itself I will work to find a way to take advantage of the opportunity. [Back talk.]
I’m torn by two perspectives in this regard [on Palestine] . . . one is the one which I’ve had for some time which is that the Palestinians have no interest whatsoever in establishing peace and that the pathway to peace is almost unthinkable to accomplish. Now why do I say that? Some might say, well let’s let the Palestinians have the West Bank and have security and set up a separate nation for the Palestinians. And then come a couple of thorny questions, and I don’t have a map here to look at the geography, but the border between Israel and the West Bank is obviously right there, right next to Tel Aviv, which is the financial capital, the industrial capital of Israel, the center of Israel. What, the border would be maybe 7 miles from Tel Aviv from what would be the West Bank. 9 miles, I came close, 9 miles. . . the challenge is the other side of the West Bank, the other side of what would be this new Palestinian state would either be Syria at one point or Jordan. And of course the Iranians would want to do through the West Bank exactly what they did through Lebanon, what they did in Gaza, which is the Iranians would want to bring missiles, the armament in through the west bank and potentially threaten Israel. And Israel of course would have to say, that can’t happen, we’ve got to keep Iranians from bringing weaponry into the West Bank. Well that means that who, the Israelis are gonna patrol the border between Jordan, Syria and this new Palestinian nation? The Palestinians would say, no way, we’re an independent country, you can’t guard our border with other Arab nations. How about the import, how about flying into this Palestinian nation? Are we gonna allow military aircraft to come in, and weaponry to come in? And if not, who’s gonna keep it from coming in? Well, the Israelis. Well the Palestinians are gonna say, we’re not an independent nation if Israel is able to come in and tell us what can land at our airports. These are problems and they’re very hard to solve, and I look at the Palestinians not wanting to see peace anyway, for political purposes, committed to the destruction and elimination of Israel, and these thorny issues, and I say, there’s just no way. And so what you do is you say, you move things along the best way you can, you hope for some degree of stability, but you recognize it this is gonna remain unsolved problem.
We live with that in China and Taiwan. All right, we have a potentially volatile situation and we sort of live with it. And we kick the ball down the field . . . we don’t go to war and try to solve it. On the other hand, I got a call from a former Secretary of State – I won’t mention which one it was – this individual said to me, you know, I think there’s a prospect for a settlement between the Palestinians and the Israelis after the Palestinian election. I said, really, and his answer was yes, I think there’s some prospect. And I didn’t delve into it, but I . . . always keep open the idea, I’ll tell ya, the idea of pushing on the Israelis to give something up to get the Palestinians to act is the worst idea in the world. We have done that time and time and time again, it does not work. So the only answer is show strength, again, American strength, American resolve, and the Palestinians someday reach a point where they want peace more than we’re trying to force peace on them, then it’s worth having a discussion. Until then, it’s just . . . . [Back talk. Question about getting to know him, converting people to Mitt.]
I have some good news for you. It’s not impossible. And the reason I say that is for instance the New York Times had a poll last week, the NY Times and NBC, and I was leading by two points among women. All right, now the president came out and said, this is an outrageous poll, they don’t know what they’re doing – by the way the polls at this stage make no difference at all – but the point is, women are open to supporting me, they like the president personally but they’re disappointed. They’re disappointed with the jobs they’re seeing with their kids, they’re disappointed with their own economic standing right now. So we can capture women’s votes. We’re having a much harder time with the Hispanic vote. And if the Hispanic voting bloc becomes as committed to the Democrats as the African American voting bloc has in the past we’re in trouble as a party and I think as a nation. And so we have some great Hispanic leaders in our party who will help communicate what our party stands for. And frankly, what I need you to do is to raise millions of dollars because the President is gonna have 8 or 9 million dollars, that’s by far the most important thing you can do, because you don’t have the capacity to speak to hundreds of thousands of people. I will be in those debates, there will be I don’t know 150 million Americans watching, if I do well, it’ll help, if I don’t, it won’t help . . . But advertising makes a difference. And the President will engage in a personal character assassination campaign and so we’ll have to fire back, one, in defense, and number two, in offense . . . Florida will be one of those states that is the key state. And so all the money will get spent in ten states and this is one of them.
The best thing I can ask you to do . . . talk to people, and tell ‘em you know me, and word of mouth makes a big difference, but I’m not generally well known by the general American public. Given all those negative things . . . the fact that I’m either tied or close to the President and the fact that he’s out there talking about the one-year anniversary of Osama bin Laden, unemployment coming down, unleashing his campaign . . . we’re still in a tie. That’s very interesting . . . . [Back talk about being successful.]
. . . In every stump speech I give I speak . . . the fact that people who dream and achieve enormous success do not make us poorer, they make us better off. And the Republican audience that I typically speak to, I said that tonight, and the media’s there, and they write about it and say Mitt Romney defends success in America and dreamers and so forth, so they write about it, but in terms of what gets through to the American consciousness . . . what they write about. And that will happen, we’ll have three debates. We’ll have a chance to talk about that in the debates. There will be ads which attack me, I will fire back in a way that describes in the best way we can the fact that if . . . I wind up talking about how the thing which I find most disappointing is his attack of one American against another American, based on going after those who have been successful. And then I quote Marco Rubio, in my speeches, I say, Marco Rubio . . . Senator Rubio says that when he grew up here poor that they looked at people who had a lot of wealth, and his parents never once said, we need some of what they have, they should give us some. Instead they said, if you work hard and go to school someday we might be able to have that . . . How much of that gets picked up? There’s so many things that don’t get picked up by the campaign . . . .
There are 47% of the people who will vote for the President no matter what, all right, there are 47% who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe that the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe they are entitled to healthcare, to food, to housing, to you name it, but that’s an entitlement, and government should give it to them. And they will vote for this President no matter what. I mean, the President starts off with 48, 49 – he starts off with a huge number. These are people who pay no income tax, 47% of Americans pay no income tax, so our message of low taxes doesn’t connect. He’ll be out there talking about tax cuts for the rich, I mean that’s what they sell every four years, and so my job is not to worry about those few, I’ll never convince them that they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives. What I have to do is convince the 5-10% in the center, that are independents, that are thoughtful, that look at voting one way or another depending upon in some cases emotion, whether they like the guy or not, what he looks like, I mean, when you ask those people – we poll all these people . . . .” [Recording ends.]