Mitt Romney: The Complete Interview

I was in a pampered home with great advantages. I went to France and I lived on a far more modest, humble basis. We made about a $100 a week. We drew out of our savings to live there. That was food, clothing, transportation, housing, the whole bit.

And I recognized that the opportunities we have in this country are absolutely extraordinary. But, also...

Stephanopoulos: It can't have been easy to try to convert people in the Catholic...

Mitt Romney: It's real hard being a missionary in France.

Ann Romney: I think the conversion happens from within, to tell you the truth.

I send five sons on missions, as well, and when they leave, they're 19-year-old boys. They come home 21-year-old men and they've learned to step outside of themselves.

They've learned what it means to truly care for someone else and they come back so much more compassionate and so much more caring and it changes their lives and I now see them as fathers and husbands.

And their maturity and their ability to care for other people that are in need is just wonderful to see, as a mother.

Stephanopoulos: While he was gone, you actually converted to Mormonism back here in the United States from -- you were Episcopal, I believe.

Ann Romney: I was Episcopal, but we went to church about once a year.

Stephanopoulos: So what was the biggest leap of faith for you?

Ann Romney: There was no huge leap of faith for me at all. When Mitt left, I really just studied it on my own.

It was not something I did for him or planning on some other life plan with it. It was an internal thing that motivated me just from my heart, as well.

Stephanopoulos: You told Kate Snow that you think that governor should give one of these JFK-style speeches, like the one John Kennedy gave in 1960.

Mitt Romney: No one can do what JFK did.

Stephanopoulos: Not exactly, but...

Ann Romney: I don't like all the emphasis that's being put on it, because I see it as being a little unfair.

He is a man of faith and he has amazing principles. He's a good father and husband. I'd like them to look at the measure of the man and stop focusing so much just on his faith.

Stephanopoulos: But this is part of what makes us human beings and, you know, John Kennedy, when he gave that speech, he said that he believed in the absolute separation of church and state.

And he went on to say this, he said, "Where no Catholic prelate would tell the president, should he be Catholic, how to act and no Protestant minister would tell his parishioners for whom to vote, where no church or church school is granted any public funds or political preference."

Is that what you believe?

Mitt Romney: Well, we have a separation of church and state in this country, and we should and it's served us well.

I don't believe, for instance, we should take "Under God" out of the Pledge of Allegiance. I don't think we should "In God we trust" off of our coins.

There's a point at which we take something which is a good principle to an extreme.

But I do recognize and support the idea that when you take the oath of office, you basically support something which Abraham Lincoln called America's political religion.

And if I'm lucky enough to be elected president of this country and I take that oath of office, there will be no higher promise than to abide by the Constitution and the rule of law.

That's Abraham Lincoln's political religion.

Stephanopoulos: How about funding faith-based institutions?

Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...