Mitt Romney: The Complete Interview

Stephanopoulos: But I'm talking about how they will take it, how they will perceive it.

Mitt Romney: I understand, but that doesn't happen to be a doctrine of my church.

Our belief is just as it says in the Bible, that the messiah will come to Jerusalem, stand on the Mount of Olives and that the Mount of Olives will be the place for the great gathering and so forth.

It's the same as the other Christian tradition. But that being said, how do Muslims feel about Christian doctrines? They don't agree with them.

There are differences between doctrines of churches. But the values at the core of the Christian faith, the Jewish faith and many other religions are very, very similar and it's that common basis that we have to support and find ability to draw people to rather than to point out the differences between our faiths.

The differences are less pronounced than the common base that can lead to the peace and the acceptability and the brother and sisterhood of humankind.

Stephanopoulos: But your church does teach that Jesus will reign on earth for the millennium, right?

Mitt Romney: Yes.

Stephanopoulos: Let me talk about your political journey. You were an Independent, registered Independent in the 1980s.

You voted for Paul Tsongas, a Democrat, in the 1992 primaries. Now you describe yourself as a Reagan...

Mitt Romney: Kind of a mischaracterization. In Massachusetts, if you register as an Independent, you can vote in either the Republican or Democratic primary.

When there was no real contest in the Republican primary, I'd vote in the Democrat primary, vote for the person who I thought would be the weakest opponent for Republican.

In the general election...

Stephanopoulos: Supporting President Bush, is that what you're saying?

Mitt Romney: Look, I've taken every occasion to vote against Ted Kennedy, he's a good friend, but Ted Kennedy, Tip O'Neill, they're my Congressman and Senator.

I go in their primary, just like a lot of other folks, and voted against the person who I thought was the strongest Democrat.

Now, that happens in America today, but let me tell you, in the general election, I don't recall ever once voting for anyone other than a Republican.

So, yes, as an Independent, I'll go in and play in their primary, but I'm a Republican and have been through my life. I was with Young Republicans when I was in college back at Stanford, but a registered Independent, so I could vote in either primary.

Stephanopoulos: Now you describe yourself as a Reagan Republican. Describe the journey.

Mitt Romney: Well, there is a change there, which is back in the, I guess, early '80s or so, I was really concerned about, well, what President Bush -- well, then it was Vice President George Herbert Walker Bush, called voodoo economics and I wondered if that would work.

Well, you know what? The Reagan economics did work, him cutting taxes and cutting back on spending stimulated our economies. From 1982, America has created, what, 30-40 million new jobs. Europe and Japan have created almost none.

The Reagan revolution of lower government taxation, lower spending, boosting our military strength, those things helped create a world which is very favorable today.

So I've become a believer. The older I get, the smarter Ronald Reagan gets.

And when I ran for governor, there's no question, the principles that Ronald Reagan espoused were the basis of my campaign. I said I would not raise taxes, despite a $3 billion deficit in our state.

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