Romney: 'I'm Not Running for Pastor-In-Chief'


On abortion, when Stephanopoulos asked if women who have abortions and doctors who perform them should be jailed, Romney said he would defer on the issue to the states, saying, "My view is that we should let each state have its own responsibility for guiding its laws relating to abortion."

On Iraq, the former governor backed President Bush's decision to increase the number of troops as "the right thing to do." Romney, who had visited Iraq in May 2006 to talk to troops from Massachusetts, dismissed calls for a fast pullout of U.S. troops, warning of the consequences of a power vacuum in Iraq.

"The risks are, of course, that Iran grabs the Shia south, that the Sunni portion of the country becomes dominated by al Qaeda, that perhaps Kurdish instability destabilizes the border with Turkey," Romney said, depicting the planned troop surge as a necessary effort to prevent a broader regional conflict.

The Republican presidential hopeful accused the Iranian military of supporting attacks on U.S. troops in Iraq and of playing a destabilizing role in the region. Romney reiterated his opposition to direct negotiations with the Iranian leadership about Iran's alleged nuclear program.

"I believe we should not be sitting down having a nice chat with the Iranians, but instead communicating to the religious leadership and the people that the consequences of going nuclear are very unattractive," he said.

Describing Iran as "a genocidal nation, a suicidal nation," Romney called for tighter economic sanctions.

On a personal note, Romney and his wife Ann talked about Mrs. Romney's health.

"Without question, the most difficult time in our life was when Ann was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis," the former governor said.

"I was really, really troubled. It was really tough for me," Mrs. Romney said about her disease.

Despite her MS, the governor's wife is an enthusiastic equestrian and has won several awards in dressage events nationwide.

"She won't brag on herself, but she's really extraordinary," Romney said about his wife's struggle against the disease. "The woman's a phenomenon."

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