The Corner

“Ask Mitt Anything”? Throw in the Kitchen Sink If You Want.

Mitt Romney opened his Iowa headquarters today. He’s psyched.

I called into a tele-town hall Romney’s doing with Iowans. The governor talked about jihad within a minute of being on the phone and mentioned Ahmedinjad and Chavez and even Putin by name within the second.

It’s part of his “Ask Mitt Anything” tour and the first dude on the line to talk to the guy running for president (“that’s me” the governor said), was an 18-year-old who announced to the candidate that he “sounds like a guy who sells home security systems.”

Alrighty then.

The second question was from a woman who asked how he plans to end world poverty. Doesn’t pretend he will. Said other things, cited Jeffrey Sacks. I was distracted by New York sirens. It ain’t Des Moines, what can I say.

The third question was on guns, Romney praised the Second Amendment and downplayed his hunting prowess.

Number four was an NRA member worried about Mitt and guns and happy with his answer to the previous called. “Glad you’re on that track” he said to the guv.

Goodness these Iowans. How many folks ask next about stem cells, and this early in the call? Well here they are. Romney says he is pro-stem-cell research, plays up adult stem cells. Says he is opposed to cloning and embryo farming. There is a “bright line when new life is being created for research.” Talks about the existing lines and “surplus” embryos – but talks up embryo adoption before he cautions it would not be a good use of federal funds to throw at embryonic research, even involving “surplus” embryos.

Next question is a woman nervous that he’s Mormon, she is “concerned about multiple wives.” “My church outlawed polygamy in 1890,” he notes for the record. Explains he loves his one wife and his family’s values “are as American as you’ll find.”

What happened in November? Worried about Iraq, people “couldn’t fire the coach, they fired the team.” Conservatism will win when we make clear we stand for conservative things…and if progress is made in Iraq….praises troops. Expresses confidence in “conservative principles” and Republican party.

When asked about abortion, and says he is pro-life, he explains that when you focus and understand all the life issues, you’re liable to become pro-life. There’s a consistency there I hope more people come to understand for reasons much more long-term than an election.

Immigration. Pro-“tamper-proof card.” Enforcement, baby. Securing the border and employment verification system must be priorities. Makes clear he likes immigration though. Jeb would be proud. W probably wouldn’t smile. Good place to be.

China – competition may help stabilize. Someone should have pressed him on tarifs. Are these not Beltway people??

He polls people on whether or not callers have participated previously in a caucus or primary.

Surge question. Supports surge. Doesn’t want a growing regional conflict, brings up Iran again. Safely talks “stability…stabilize.” No high-minded democracy or freedom talk. “Early” to know how surge is working.

Roberta says she is praying for Romney and “with you all the way.” No question “don’t know as much as you guys do so I don’t know what to ask for.” Sounds kind. I love Americans.

“You’re going to see me on TV more than you want to.”

Is he flirting with sweet Grandma Roberta?

Rudy Giuliani was on CNN today and said he supports taxpayer-funded abortions, “Do you support taxpayer funded abortions?”NO!! he said. O.K, maybe not two exclamation points.

Don’t ask, Don’t Tell. “Seems to be working pretty well. … Don’t want to change something that’s working.” He defers to military leadership. “Let’s not make a dramatic change in the way the military operations” while we’re at war. Elaine Donnelly would not love that answer.

America being competitive worldwide=good. Likes low taxes for American businesses. Likes technology. Need good schools or we’re going to have problems down the line. American products can and do rock.

Health care. We worked hard in Massachusetts. Affordable important. “It is not government, universal coverage. That’s a bad idea that came from Hillary Clinton that I rejected.” Get health care to work like the private markets, like everything else we buy. All Americans should have health insurance, but not government insurance, private insurance.

Troops stretched thin, caller worries. Would you draft? Romney says need 100,000 troops at least added to the military, but not for draft.

Ethanol question from a farmer. Romney admits he tried to shoot a quail once and failed. STOP WITH THE HUNTING, not your strong suit right now. Does much better talking energy independence. Cites his three bad guys, Ahmedinijad, Chavez, and Putin again.

A question about habitats in the West. Says he needs to study more. Sounds like he knows as much about that as I do. But does a good federalist bit and lauds Second Amendment, talks about some pro-hunter thing he did in Mass [note to self – what was that?].

We’re like some 40-plus minutes into this call and it’s the first question he didn’t have an answer to.

Notably, too, he’s only had one weird comment. These aren’t C-SPAN callers.

Next caller doesn’t like the IRS. Wants it dismantled. April 15 is approaching and K-Lo hasn’t filed her taxes or know where her paperwork is, so Howard Dean scream time from me in agreement. He says he won’t propose a flat tax but an across the board reduction. Elimination of death tax.

See Club for Growth speech for more. (That’s from me, not him. I was reading JMart on Romney hitting Rudy on Ames .)

One more question. Thankfully, some of us have deadlines, Gov. Moderator says callers who didn’t get to ask a question can leave voicemail the governor or a staffer will answer.

Alternative Minimum Tax question is last. It needs to be “patched.” Adds that taxing and spending is not good and free people is good. Raising spending and growing government doesn’t help people on these fronts.

Says we shouldn’t become European with big government. Likes Reagan instead.

Invited people to give him money. Loves Iowa. Love people in Iowa. (Not going to take on Roberta as a second wife though…I added that, not the governor.)

I promise not to liveblog these every night from now until Election Day.

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