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Joining us now from the state capital of Columbia is Mitt Romney and governor welcome back to Fox News -- Thanks Chris get -- -- here.
I want to put up the dramatic change in the South Carolina over this past week let's look at the polls on Monday before the Fox News debate.
You relating Gingrich 29 point 7%.
To 22 last night game -- beat you 40%.
Not as this went up twenty points in just five days question governor what happen.
Well speaker Gingrich had a good week.
I think -- his debate sparring with the Juan Williams was a great opportunity for him to show some strength.
Was not a great week for me we spent a lot of time talking about tax returns and and of course the changing -- and Iowa.
And you know what's that it's a time what we faced a setback.
You know wouldn't in my experience a lot of people face setbacks -- come back from -- that's the only way to be successful is to come back from the inevitable.
-- downturns were hoping it expected to do that down the road.
Let's look at the exit polls -- because they may have raised some -- some questions for your campaign.
-- -- who said they were conservative went for Gingrich over you 45%.
And among voters who said it matters that a candidate shares their religious beliefs Gingrich speech you 46%.
That's 18 you seem to be heard governor by the idea that you're a moderate.
And the fact that you're Mormon.
You know I realize that South Carolina is send -- its neighborhood this is a state very close to his home state.
Add and he had a good strong.
Starting place here I indicated from the beginning we thought it would be an uphill climb here in South Carolina.
We did a lot better this time that we did four years ago.
But the a lot of states across the country and the great majority of people choose the candidate who they think should be the next president as opposed to someone who may be in the same faith that there and so.
You know I'm I'm looking forward to a long campaign to.
-- a tough process you know that and that's the way it ought to be.
We're selecting the president of the United States someone is gonna face ups and downs of real challenges.
And I hope -- -- this process second demonstrate that I can net a take a setback and come back strong.
But how do you deal with -- with this notion and and you know that Gingrich is -- apply it Massachusetts moderate.
And also the fact that you are -- Mormon and at least in South Carolina some people -- to -- some concerns about.
Well I don't think in the final analysis that that religion is gonna play a big factor in selecting our nominee.
I do think that conservative values do play an enormous role -- I think the speaker has some explaining to do for.
Sitting on the so for what Nancy Pelosi and arguing for climate change regulation.
For calling the Paul Ryan plan right wing social engineering.
You're gonna look over his record and say well he's he's not so conservative.
As a reliable conservative leaders people might have imagined but.
We'll get a chance to frame of those issues as time goes on.
He had a very good week go on after me on taxes and -- and so forth and and a great confrontation with Juan Williams -- that's that's hard to match and every single state.
I wanted to pick up on exactly this issue how will you view you gave us a couple of ideas but generally -- how will you go -- -- Newt Gingrich.
Well you -- the key key for me is not so much going after Newt Gingrich as it is pointing out by -- capacity in my background my strengths look at.
I don't think that the people of this country.
Are gonna choose as the next president of the United States a person who spent forty years in Washington as a congressman and a lobbyist.
That that is not gonna in my opinion be the most effective way to replace.
The current president who also spent his career.
I think that in order to replace a president who's never had the experience leading a business leading a state -- get eight that community.
That it makes sense to have someone who who actually has done those things who's led a a state who's also.
-- -- Olympics is led business is I think that background is critical and I think.
Speaker Gingrich having not done any one of those things is not ideally suited to face off against a president.
Aides are quoted -- overnight as saying that your goal also gonna make Newt Gingrich is character.
An issue how -- Well no question but that leadership is the the key attribute -- what should look for and and considering a president we have differences on issues but.
In the final analysis those issues are important but but but leadership the capacity to.
To move others and to accomplish a very its ideals or something which as we look for the person who will.
Guide the nation and character is a big part of leadership -- his vision.
These these are attributes which I think people want to see in their candidate that's one reason we go to this grueling process of of a selection of our nominees we get a good chance to really see them under are under -- see how they respond.
And I hope that I'll I'll be seen as being as strong and -- kind of -- setting.
Having said that I want to play -- clap from speaker Gingrich -- victory speech last night take a look.
One of the key issues.
And I'm prepared to take this straight at the president and frankly straight at the elite media.
One of the key issues is the growing anti religious bigotry of -- -- Okay.
Governor is and you've heard this that kind of argument from -- -- -- before is -- tapping into the anger that many voters feel these day is.
More effectively than you are.
You know I don't know whether at anger is the a source of his campaign that -- that would win here in South Carolina I think I think he's had.
88 campaign that's gone across a whole series of issues.
There's no question but that if you look back at those last couple -- debates he was I was angry.
Can't depth and their may have been some people who like that and look at -- -- I remember -- Mike Huckabee wants said he said look I'm proud to be conservative.
But I don't have to be mad at anybody about that and you know why I'm not somebody who is angry at in and mad.
But I am very upset about the direction this country is headed and if I'm president of the United States I'm gonna take America back.
You know you talk about the fact that he had a good week and you said quite frankly that you didn't happen to such a good wake up I -- talking about some of the mistakes you made Gingrich and Rick Perry.
Demanded that you release your tax returns here's how you handle that this last -- If I've become our nominee I'm.
And what's happened in the history as people are released a minute about April -- the coming year and that's probably what I do policy effective right -- impact on -- probably closer to the 15% rate than anything.
When you release -- We have all your -- example.
Forgive me sir but who says may be in a president and presidential debate it.
Why when you -- it doesn't question a lot of political pundits are asking why were you when your campaign so -- prepared.
For what seemed to be such an obvious line of attack.
Well actually what -- we said was that.
I was planning and release -- the men in April when they've been released by the candidates in the past but you know what I've given all the attention that's been focused on tax returns.
Given the distraction that I think they became in these last couple weeks.
Look I I'm I'm gonna make it very clear to you right now Chris I will release my tax returns.
Which is the last returns that were completed I'll do that on Tuesday of this week I'll also -- at the same time an estimate for 2011.
Tax returns so you'll have.
Two years people can take a good look at it we'll put him on the web site.
And you go through the pages.
This I think we just a matter mistaken net and holding off as long as we did it just was a distraction we wanna get back to be real issues in the campaign.
Leadership character and vision for America how to get jobs again and America and how to rein in the excessive scale of the federal government at.
Not to quibble but -- another issue came up -- about your dad and I think it has to be twelve years but why not -- more years than just.
This year or -- 2010 and then an estimate for this year.
Well that'll be more than any of the Republican candidate and.
I'm not gonna go back to my dad's year's that was -- even before the Internet will be putting our we'll be putting -- -- returns on the Internet people can look through them.
It'll provide I think plenty of information for people to understand that.
The -- source of my income are exactly as described in the financial disclosure statements that we put out several months ago.
The last debate you said that one of the reasons you want it to release them all at one time is because you.
You knew the Democrats we're gonna go after them and you didn't want to have a drip drip process of that.
Are there are more political problems -- in these tax returns like the 15% like the investments.
Accounts and the Cayman Islands.
Well one of the what are the reasons that we're putting together the 2011.
Estimate as well as the 2010 return.
Is so there's not a drip drip drip we put both returns both numbers at the same time.
So that that -- there's not a second -- down the road.
At and I'm sure the Democrats will do their very best to see if they can't find something that that stirs up interest but luckily.
The the income might have is said derived from the investments which are described.
In the financial disclosure report that the Cayman Islands account so to speak can say is that apparently an investment.
That was made in an entity that invests in the United States.
The taxes paid on that are full US taxes they'll try and drum that up to be something but by the way.
It was -- same issue for years ago.
Was responded to four years ago nothing's changed since then and I I know people try and find something but we pay full fair taxes.
And you'll see it's a pretty some substantial amount.
I want to ask you one last question about that the taxes you have been very open about the fact that like a lot of other devout mormons you tie it to your church.
Given the results that we we saw in South Carolina -- do you think.
It might be any kind of a political problem the fact that being as wealthy as you are.
You have given millions millions of dollars.
To -- church of latter day science.
-- -- hope not if if people want to discriminate against someone based upon their commitment to -- it.
I'd be very surprised this is a country that believes in the Bible the Bible speaks about providing tides and offerings.
I made a commitment in my church a long long time ago that I would give 10% of my income to the church.
And I followed through on that commitment.
And hopefully as people look at the various individuals are running for president they'd they'd be pleased with someone who made a promise.
I promise to god and kept that promise so what if I had given less than 10% -- I think people would have to look at me and say hey.
What's wrong with you -- -- -- -- holes throughout your promises.
Finally as sir I want to talk about the debates because it.
Again this is just my perception you seem particularly this last week to have shown a tendency.
To get irritated.
When your challenge let me put up some of -- clips from the debates.
There's not a good question and answer the question for.
And -- We have plenty of time I get -- whether the order I wanna do.
Governor Romney questions whether you're genuinely pro life.
I'm not question on character integrity very -- and I don't feel like standing here for that.
Are you letting these guys get under your skin governor and is -- a problem for you.
Not in the slightest that no -- at a much did but I can tell you this I'm gonna make it very clear when there are things I care about deeply.
And my character is one of those things when that's gonna be challenged on mechanism that there and smile and -- and act like it's it's -- think of no significance.
I have emotion and passion.
I'm concerned about that the great challenges that America faces and and I'm gonna show the the passion that I have when when what it comes naturally.
That there's a process for I'm I'm proud to be pretty steady I know -- -- has to be that I meant.
That some of the flies off the handle -- -- that in my erratic.
Or incapable of dealing with stressful situations people see me as a guy whose calm under fire.
I've been tested time and time again had success has some losses.
-- I've learned from those losses and and I social passion.
And and it from time to time perhaps a little energy.
As I think it's appropriate and as I feel it in my heart.
But I'm a person of sobriety capacity steadiness and I think that's originate in the White House finally sir -- -- Hesitated before agreeing to participate in the two board debates they're gonna take place this week I guess one on Monday one on Thursday -- in Florida.
And I wonder have you made a mistake agreeing to all these debates who you are the one candidate who has got a real national campaign huge organization and lots of money.
You're on the ballot in every state.
Have you made a mistake by agreeing to these debates with a bunch of candidates who are relying have to rely on national TV time and -- in -- fact.
Playing on their field and giving away a lot of your advantages.
Well perhaps but I think the American people want a chance to see the candidates and and understand I understand something about the character.
And you know I I hope that I Wear well that process I hope that over time as people see more -- -- more the other guys and I'll come out ahead.
But if not that's the way it's gonna be -- -- do what I think is best to have the American people get a chance to know who I am.
And here my views on issues look this is a critical time for America.
What we're choosing someone who will lead our nation at a very critical time people are suffering in this country right now.
And I spent my life in the private sector I understand how to create jobs and how to get America strong again.
And I'm running against in the case -- speaker Gingrich someone who's never worked in the private sector who spent his life in Washington and has been working as a lobbyist.
And he doesn't call it officially a lobbyist but that's what it is and I simply cannot imagine America.
Led by a person.
Whose whose sole experience is not inside the private sector but is inside Washington I just don't -- Washington can fix Washington.
Finalize our may have less than a minute left -- just on a personal level I know you what's sad.
And your campaign has said look we're in this for the long haul and -- now we never expected this to be.
Easy but you know there was a really a possibility if you had won a decisive victory and you were way ahead in South Carolina.
That this rice might be over on just a personal level when -- and mrs.
-- went to bed last night.
What you say to each other and it's got to look hurt.
What if you know that -- the hurt isn't that what comes to mind we look at this is a long process.
Clearly we wanted to win in South Carolina.
But from the very beginning.
We understood that this would be an uphill battle -- look I can enforce here four years ago this time I came in second that in feel that good by the way I wanna come in first.
But but we looked at the numbers and look behind the numbers you use on the very early part of the week yeah I was at 29% in the polls I got 28 -- finished.
The undecided spurt virtually all broke for Newt.
And and I understand that he had a very good week but you don't.
There's a long process we're looking ahead to a number of other races I think it what are we three states and now we've got that 47 -- ago so.
What we're we're looking forward to being successful and and about the way we have confidence in the American people.
I think in the final analysis they'll do the right thing.
Governor Romney want to thank you thank you for talking with us today and we will be tracking what happens now in Florida -- Half had a great Chris -- -- there up next.
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