'This Week' Transcript: Jon Huntsman, Plus Analysis of the ABC News Iowa Debate


GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS: It's the first time they have done that. And you know, they're out there trying to define him the way they were defining Mitt Romney before. They clearly think he won last night and now has a legitimate shot at being the nominee.

AMANPOUR: You know, everybody, the big question was, how was Mitt Romney going to deal with the frontrunner insurgent Newt Gingrich, who has now stormed past him. George, you did open the door a little bit for him. Let's hear and watch how he handled it.


STEPHANOPOULOS: Speaker Gingrich crystallized his argument a couple of weeks ago. He said and I quote, "I'm a lot more conservative than Mitt Romney and a lot more electable than anyone else." I know you don't agree with that. Why?

ROMNEY: Of course, I don't agree with that.


ROMNEY: I don't think most people agree with that. Speaker Gingrich and I have a lot of places where we disagree. We'll talk about those.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Why don't you name them?

ROMNEY: Places where we disagree? Let's see, we can start with his idea to have a lunar colony that would mine minerals from the moon. I'm not in favor of spending that kind of money to do that. He said that he would like to eliminate in some cases the child labor laws so that kids could clean schools. I don't agree with that idea. His plan on capital gains, to remove capital gains for people at the very highest levels of income is different than mine. I would eliminate capital gains interest and dividends for people in middle income. So we have differences of view point on some issues.

But the real difference, I believe, is our backgrounds. I spent my life in the private sector.

GINGRICH: I'm proud of trying to find things to give young people a reason to study science and math and technology. And telling them that some day in their lifetime, they could dream of going to the moon, they could dream of going to Mars. I'll stand by the idea young people ought to learn how to work. Middle-class kids do it routinely. We should give poor kids the same chance to pursue happiness.


AMANPOUR: So, George, how do you think Mitt Romney measured up in this sort of aggressive tactics that people talked about? How did they both measure up against each other?

STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, I have to say I was a little bit surprised right there at the top. I thought Governor Romney was not going to hesitate at all in trying to draw these distinctions between himself and Speaker Gingrich. His team had been telegraphing for the last week or so that he was ready to take on the frontrunner with the momentum, but he seemed to be struck between trying to be -- draw the differences, but also be the grown-up, sober, likable guy on the stage, and so he finally did lay out those differences, but that led to that pretty devastating comeback by Speaker Gingrich on you would have been a career politician if you hadn't lost to Ted Kennedy back in 1994.

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