George Stephanopoulos' Interview With Former Gov. Mitt Romney

ROMNEY: Oh, I think people recognize I'm at a pretty good position and, frankly, I think people who watch the debate had to say to themselves, what is it about these politicians that are more focused on insults than on issues? It's what's wrong with politics. We have extraordinary challenges in America right now. But Washington is unable to deal with the challenges because they're so consumed with score settling and attacks on fellow Republicans or Democrats. We've really got to have somebody who just doesn't care about all the attacks and the insults, who is focused on getting the job done for the American people.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You say you're in a pretty good position yet your entire strategy called the kindling strategy, Iowa and New Hampshire, the kindling, they spark a wildfire that carries you through the whole primaries. You lost Iowa. You're behind here in the polls right now. If you lose in New Hampshire, isn't it the end of the line?

ROMNEY: Well, let's get the record entirely straight here. I won Wyoming last night.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You did win Wyoming.

ROMNEY: I won Wyoming and, number two, the poll this morning, the Zogby Tracking Poll has me in the lead in New Hampshire. They must have liked the debate last night. And I'm planning on winning in New Hampshire. It may not happen but there was something else that happened along the way, the need for getting those early primary states was conditioned on the idea that Rudy Giuliani was the powerhouse I'd be facing in Florida at the end. So I better get…

STEPHANOPOULOS: He's not a powerhouse anymore?

ROMNEY: Well, he doesn't look like the powerhouse he was. As a matter of fact, in the national polls he's not leading anymore. So the dynamics will change. I'm not a political pundit. But I can tell you all I can do as a candidate is describe the things I believe in, fight for them. I'm a candidate that will bring change to Washington. I don't care about who gets the credit, who gets the blame. I'm going to change Washington, to solve our immigration problems, education problems, get health care for all our citizens, get the tax burden down for middle income Americans and put together a comprehensive strategy to defeat global jihad, not just militarily but with our nonmilitary resources as well, and that's something which Americans are looking for, and, you know, how the chips fall, how things settle, that's out of my control.

STEPHANOPOULOS: One final question, you did spend a lot of time and spend a lot of money in Iowa and but we saw this huge turnout by evangelical born again Christians, 60% of the voters in Iowa, and they broke heavily, more than 30 points for Mike Huckabee. Did your Mormon faith defeat you in Iowa?

ROMNEY: You know, it probably played a role for some people. I don't think for the majority of people it played a significant role. I think more than likely that Mike Huckabee as a Baptist preacher was able to draw on a lot of people very comfortable with a member of their faith and that drew a huge support for him. He ran a good campaign, congratulations for doing that. But it's an entire nation with differing views and I anticipate that issues and vision and experience will trump those things in the final analysis.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Governor Romney, thanks very much.

ROMNEY: Thanks, George. Good to be with you.

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