Mitt Romney: The Complete Interview

And when I decided to run for president and, actually, as I formed my exploratory committee, I wanted to communicate that's exactly what I'd do as president, as well.

I support the continuation of the tax cuts that were enacted under President Bush's watch and I will not raise taxes.

Stephanopoulos: But when I was speaking with Governor Huckabee last week, he said that he may sign this, but he hasn't signed it because he's concerned that it would constrain him and prevent him from fulfilling his constitutional obligations.

For example, if we were attacked, if we were at war, if we needed more funds, he wouldn't rule out the possibility of a tax increase.

Mitt Romney: Well, he raised taxes, this governor, and felt the need to do so and I understand that. People are in different circumstances.

But you can read the pledge, if you will, and you can see that it's drawn very narrowly. It's not drawn very broadly.

It talks about raising the highest marginal income tax rate. It does not talk about all forms of revenue for the government.

And so that being said, the ability to manage the nation and to protect our interest is there.

But at the same time, I think people have to indicate pretty clearly, are they in favor of a huge tax increase which would occur in 2011 if the tax cuts expire or are they in favor of keeping the burden placed on Americans the same as it is today.

I will not raise that burden. I don't want a higher tax burden, and that's something which I wanted to communicate very clearly.

Stephanopoulos: You passed the healthcare law in Massachusetts to try to cover everyone in the state.

Do you think the country should have that kind of a plan?

Mitt Romney: I think every American should have good health insurance that's affordable and portable. The last thing I think, however, is that we should have government-sponsored universal coverage.

The prior effort to put such a national plan in place I think was ill conceived.

What we found in Massachusetts, and this is by reaching across the aisle, with Democrats and Republicans, we can get private market insurance that's available and affordable for all of our citizens.

We don't need a government takeover of healthcare. I think you're going to see in this next decade, with a Republican presidency and perhaps, at least for the next two years, a Democratic lead in Congress, you're going to see a real effort to get people health insurance and I support that.

But I do not want more incursion of the government into health insurance or into the healthcare field. We've got to get government out. We've got to allow the private market to work and the best way to do that is to help people buy private policies that they can afford.

The president took a good step in that regard by saying individuals should be able to pay for their insurance policies with pre-tax dollars. Corporations do that.

Stephanopoulos: The point of the Massachusetts plan is that individuals should be required to buy health insurance.

Should that be a national requirement?

Mitt Romney: No, it shouldn't be a national requirement, not now, not the way our nation has such a patchwork of laws.

I actually think that we're best to allow individual states to experiment with their own policies for getting their citizens insured.

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