Meet the Press | January 22, 2012
>> i think what people want to see is look at how he made his money and i think that's appropriate and he will get a good view of that in the two most recent years, 2010 and 2011 . i am happy he is doing it.
>> he waited, and it made for a pretty bad week. you advised him in the week to do it sooner. i want to show you something from the debate this week when he justified why it was he didn't want to release more and release more sooner than when he planned to last april. this is what he said.
>> i want to make sure that i beat president obama , and every time we release things drip by drip, the democrats go out with another array of attacks.
>> is there something in the tax returns that will hurt governor romney ?
>> i don't believe so no. at the end of the day , even in a standard tax return , adversaries like the obama white house will pick it apart and make something bad about the success governor romney has had in his life. i'm sure that's what he was concerned about. i made my position clear that i think he should release the returns and he is releasing them and it's time to move on. what america is going to see is he is somebody who has been successful in his life. i think that's what you are going to see with governor romney .
>> what was the meaning of last night?
>> clearly disappointing. i am not going to say it was somehow good news for the romney campaign. we had a bad week as a campaign and a bad result last night. i still believe that governor romney will win in florida on the 31st, and he will return to florida in august as the republican nominee.
>> there's a couple big issues. connecting to the grassroots of the party , and speaking about what speaker gingrich says, the anger.
>> i have a real sense that governor romney has a real depth of knowledge and experience and understanding about government and business, but he doesn't really communicate it all that well. i think people have a hard time connecting at times with him, and so his challenge will be how to connect with people, how to make them feel what i do believe that he feels inside, which is he wants to do great things for the country.
>> what do you contribute that lack of connection to?
>> he is a very reserved guy. and everybody comes with a different personality. he is very reserved. everybody can have success in politics with different personalities and every candidate has liabilities, and the president's liability is he has a lousy record, so he will have to attack mitt romney . and the speaker, a strategic adviser, that's the oldest washington dive in the --
>> are you talking about when he worked for freddie mac ?
>> yes, he said he was a historian and now a stau tenlgic adviser, and that's the oldest trick in the book. he could call it whatever he wants to call it, but that's what it is. every candidate will have liabilities. what i was saying to oprah in the interview, it is a challenge for mitt romney . i believe mitt romney will meet that challenge and connect.
>> you come back with the connection to conservatives. what in your judgment is mitt romney 's greatest contribution?
>> well, this is a guy that showed the free enterprise system can work and can work to create jobs across america . you look at staples and sports authority , and everybody that works at those places today has mitt romney to thank for it, and he will know how to do that as president to get government out of the way and be able to let the private sector to create the jobs that we need that we have not had in the obama administration. he can show the free enterprise system does work for middle class people. those going to work at staples and sports authority , david , those are not the elite, they are going to those jobs to put food on the table and send their kids to college. let the president attack that.
>> why shouldn't mitt romney be the nominee? what is disqualifying about his record? now i ask you, as a member of the establishment, why shouldn't newt gingrich be the nomination of the party ? what is disqualifying about his record?
>> not as a member of the establishment, david , but has a governor, i know we don't need another legislature in the oval office . we have had one for the last three years. we have had the worst years of congress in my lifetime because this president refuses to get in the room and roll up his sleeves and get the hard work done. we do not need another legislature in the oval office , but we need an executive, and he understands how to bring people together and use executive power . the speaker does not have that experience.
>> you have been more pointed in favor of governor romney , he said you will never embarrass you. do you think newt gingrich will embarrass the party ?
>> i think he has over time , and will he do it in the future? i don't know. but governor romney never has.
>> how has he embarrassed the party ?
>> well, we know the record. he was fined $300,000 for ethics violations. this is a guy that has had a very difficult political career at times and it has been an embarrassment to the party . you remember those times because you were here. i don't need to regail the country with the list, and i am not saying he will do it again in the future, but sometimes the past is a proop.
>> is character an issue in this campaign?
>> i am not talking about character. i am talking about what you have done on the record and what that indicates. i take him at his word that he is a changed person. i am not attacking him on that basis. i am saying this is a guy that never has run anything. i don't think on the job training should be the presidency of the united states . he has done great things for the party and the country, but i don't believe his record stacks up to governor romney in that regard.
>> what about the electability question? you heard what i challenged speaker gingrich with. if he keeps going and consolidates support for conservatives, this is the best news possible for obama .
>> the worst news possible for obama is a romney candidacy. the best contrast we can have to president obama , so i say governor romney would be the worst news for the obama white house .
>> but do you think a nominee gingrich could also beat president obama ?
>> could he? sure.
>> you don't sound as convincing, though.
>> i answered your question.
>> but you think he could?
>> i want to ask you something that i don't think has come up, and it's would you consider being on the romney ticket as the vp. i want to ask you a different way. you said you did not feel you were ready to be president right now, and would you be ready to be vice president? would you have to be ready to be vice president --
>> everybody has misunderstood what i meant about being ready for president. i meant being ready to leave the job i had and being ready to run for the president of the united states and all that entails, and i didn't feel ready to do it and i think you have should be committed to do that. i want to be governor new jersey . i absolutely believe that come november 2012 , i will be governor of new jersey , and not in any other officers. and the fact is if governor romney picked up the phone to call me and talk about this, i love my country and party enough to listen, but if you are a betting guy -- i know you are, david , you should bet on chris christie being the governor in november of 2012 . you would be a good vice president, wouldn't you?
>> you would be wonderful.
>> i think certain personalities are suited for jobs better than others. i don't know that i am a guy to stand three feet behind somebody and nod my head, and that's not in my character. but you have to balance that against your love for your party and country, and you have to know if i am approached, i will listen. but my inclination, i want to make it clear, i want to stay the governor of new jersey . maybe i can be convinced of something different.
>> state of the union , what do you think the president could say that would surprise republicans and galvanize republicans and be able to work on something substantial?
>> he asked for it and put it on the shelf for political reasons and showed political cowardness for doing it, and it's a fear of confronting big issues in our country. if he came out on tuesday and said i was wrong to put bowls on the shelf, and i want to have a conversation about tackling debt in our country, and the way simpson and mr. bowls suggested -- it's not that i agree with every part of simpson bowls, but it's a realistic plan. he never did it. that would surprise the nation if he did it, and i think it would show great leadership if the president was willing to do it.
>> where have republicans been culpable for the paralysis in washington? you spoke about the president, but what about the republicans?
>> i said this before. i think people are talking too much time talking at each other and not to each other. look at new jersey . they say some of the most unspeakable things about me publicly, but on the other hand i do not take that personally. i bring them in the room and we sit down and talk and resolve things, because we are put in these jobs to accomplish things, not just the posture imposed. my point to republicans has been you have to force those conversations. if the president is not interested in having them or developing those relationships, then there are little the republicans can do. but to the extent of not having the relationship happen, then there's a culpability there.
>> one of the things we talked about at this table before, the federal state funnel projects and you were opposed to it saying we are broke in new jersey , and now you are calling for a cut in income state tax, and why can you afford that?
>> because first of all the tunnel project was going to cost an additional $8 billion, and now what we see happening now is the federal government , new york and new jersey are coming up with another plan that will be shared by all the parties, not 70% of the cost being on new jersey . the reason we need to cut taxes. think of what i inherited. we had 13 billion in deficits, and 13% tax in fees, and then the worst business environment in america . in two years we balanced those budgets and brought ourselves to balance without any tax increases through aggressive cuts, and now i am saying it's time for the people to get their money back, a 10% cut phased in over three years and you can do it responsibly and not bust the budget. the people of new jersey will know for the next three years every year their taxes will go down. if i told you that the first time i came here you would have told me i was nuts. but i did it, and working together with democrats, i think we can do it again.
>> do the new jersey giants win today?
>> you didn't even flinch.
>> the only thing about the giants in new york, is they train in new jersey , and the new jersey giants are going to have a great game today. sorry to the friends in san francisco . it will be a big win today.
>> i will be watching that