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Gov. Mitt Romney full interview from Leno (VIDEOS)

By April MacIntyre Mar 28, 2012, 8:53 GMT

Gov. Mitt Romney full interview from Leno (VIDEOS)

US Republican Presidential Candidate and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney speaks at a rally at Clearview Mall in Metairie, Louisiana, near New Orleans, USA 23 March 2012. EPA/SKIP BOLEN

Tune in and previews for Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney who takes to the “Tonight Show” couch for his first late night sit-down interview since announcing his 2012 presidential candidacy.

Governor Romney talks with Jay about some possible Vice President candidates and one word to describe them.

Later, Romney gives his reaction to Rick Santorum’s comments, why porn is an issue that is even being discussed, his view on healthcare and Russia as a threat.

Megan Hilty from NBC’s new hit show “Smash” talks about what it was like to play the lead in the Broadway show, “Wicked” and even shows Jay how she can sing like a chicken.

The Pierces perform.

Transcript from NBC:

JAY LENO:  Welcome back.  I'm excited to welcome
              my first guest back to the show.  He is a
              businessman and former Government of Massachusetts
              who is the Republican frontrunner for the
              Presidency of the United States.  Please welcome
              Governor Mitt Romney.

              (Applause.)

              JAY LENO:  Well, good to see again, my friend.

              MITT ROMNEY:  Good to be back.  Thank you, Jay.

              JAY LENO:  And you are halfway to 144.  Are you
              confident?  How are you feeling?


              MITT ROMNEY:  I'm feeling good.

              JAY LENO:  Yeah.

              MITT ROMNEY:  It's getting better and better.  It
              looks like we getting good support.  I hope so.

              JAY LENO:  Yeah.  But each delegate it's just --
              isn't it?  It's just -- did you think it would be
              this much of a slog this far into it?

              MITT ROMNEY:  Well, they allocated the delegates
              on a proportion of places this time.

              JAY LENO:  Okay.

              MITT ROMNEY:  So we knew it was going to take a
              while.  And I actually sent my son Matt to go to
              the Northern Mariana Islands.  We got nine
              delegates there to go to Guam.

              JAY LENO:  RIGHT.

              MITT ROMNEY:  Nine delegates there, and I went to
              Puerto Rico, got 20 delegates.  So we keep adding
              them up, and plan to become the nominee.

              (Applause.)

              JAY LENO:  Yeah.  Well, that's they way to do it.
              No one is dropping out.  Is a broken convention a
              concern?  Do you think it will get to that?

   
              MITT ROMNEY:  I don't think so.  I think it's more
              likely that we'll rally around a candidate.  I
              hope it's me.

              JAY LENO:  Okay.

              (Applause.)

              MITT ROMNEY:  And I think if we wait until the end
              of August to have a nominee, it makes it a lot
              tougher --

              JAY LENO:  Right.

              MITT ROMNEY:  -- to be successful in replacing our
              President.  And I know there are some who think
              President Obama ought be re-elected.  I'm not one
              of them.

              JAY LENO:  Okay.

              MITT ROMNEY:  I think it's time to get someone
              new.

              (Applause.)

              JAY LENO:  Okay.  Let me say -- now, Rick Santorum
              this week in one breath, the same day, he said,
              you were the worst possible guy to run against
              Obama, and the same day he said "I'd be his Vice
              President."

              (Laughter.)

              JAY LENO:  What are your thoughts on that?

              MITT ROMNEY:  It's a world of politics.

              JAY LENO:  What did you think when you watched
              that?  What did you think:

              MITT ROMNEY:  Well, you know, you're on all the
              time when you're running for office.  Everything
              you say is being followed by, you know, a small
              camera of some kind that someone has.  You don't
              always get every word just right.  And so you have
              to give people a little bit of slack, I think.
              And in this case, Rick Santorum is a good guy.
              He's running a good campaign.  We have some
              differences in background, and differences on some
     
              issues, but basically a good guy.  And, you know,
              I'm happy with him saying that he would be like to
              be part of an administration with me.  Nothing
              wrong with that.  If he's the VP, that's better.

              JAY LENO:  Yeah.

              (Applause.)

              MITT ROMNEY:  I'd rather be the President and let
              him be the Vice President.

              JAY LENO:  Yeah.  Yeah.  But did he endorse you in
              2008?

              MITT ROMNEY:  He did.

              JAY LENO:  Didn't I see that?

              MITT ROMNEY:  He did.

              JAY LENO:  Or was that, like, in another --

              MITT ROMNEY:  He did.

              JAY LENO:  -- alternate universe?  How does this
              work?

              MITT ROMNEY:  Well, that was a very big thing.  He
              was kind enough to endorse me and said that I'm a
              real conservative, a true conservative.  And I
              think those words were actually the most credible,
              given the fact he was not at that time a
              candidate.  So, I keep on going on those words.

              JAY LENO:  Okay.  So you go by that?

              MITT ROMNEY:  Yeah.

              JAY LENO:  You go by the first one?

              MITT ROMNEY:  Yeah.  I just say, yeah, remind
              people of that.

              JAY LENO:  Now, did you ever think that we' be
              talked about porn?  I mean, with all the other
              things in this election --

              MITT ROMNEY:  I didn't know we were talking about
              porn.
   
              (Laughter.

              JAY LENO:  Well, no we're not talking about porn.
              Rick Santorum was talking about porn.  Well, you
              and I were talking about porn back stage.

              (Laughter.)

              JAY LENO:  But I mean -- no.  But I mean, I watch
              this and I go, all these issues that come in,
              which, I mean, to me, this seems to be jobs and
              defense and economy.  All these other things,
              where did this -- how did this all get involved?

              MITT ROMNEY:  You're absolutely right.  Look, the
              country faces extraordinary challenges.  And you
              know that.  The debt that we have is making us
              look more and more like Greece.  People want
              better jobs and higher incomes.  The median income
              in America is down, the cost of living, cost of
              gasoline is up.  We face a potentially nuclear
              Iran.  There's some real changes we face.  And
              somehow the -- I don't know what it is.  The media
              or various talk shows are interested in looking at
              all the periphery instead of focusing on the big
              issues.  But when the votes come and people make
              up their mind, I think they focus on what's most
              important to them.

              JAY LENO:  So, tell me about Vice President.  What
              are you looking for?

              MITT ROMNEY:  I haven't actually put a list
              together at this stage.

              JAY LENO:  Come on.

              MITT ROMNEY:  It would be presumptuous.  All
              right, number one.

              JAY LENO:  Not even, like, with the wife?  "You
              know Honey."

              (Laugher.)

              JAY LENO:  Really, it's never come up?  I'm not
              even running and I discuss it with my wife.
              JAY LENO:  So you haven't thought of, gee --

              (Applause.)

              JAY LENO:  I'll tell you what --

              MITT ROMNEY:  I' tell you what -- I'll tell you
              what.

              JAY LENO:  Yeah.

              MITT ROMNEY:  I can do you a favor with this.
              I'll choose David Letterman.  We can help us both
              in that.

              JAY LENO:  Well, there you go.  There you go.
              There you go.  There you are.

              (Laughter.)

              JAY LENO:  Now, I'll give you a list of
              candidates, you give me one word on each person.
              Let's see.  Give me one.  Chris Christie?

              MITT ROMNEY:  How about a couple of words, maybe?

              JAY LENO:  Chris Christie?

              MITT ROMNEY:  Okay.  Indomitable.

              JAY LENO:  Indomitable.

              MITT ROMNEY:  Yeah.

              JAY LENO:  All right.

              (Laughter.)

              JAY LENO:  All right.  Okay.

              MITT ROMNEY:  A man of strong will.

              JAY LENO:  Strong will.

              MITT ROMNEY:  Great strength.

              JAY LENO:  A man of girth.

              MITT ROMNEY:  Indomitable.  No, just, if you
              attack Chris Christie, you're going to get more
              than you bargain for.  He comes back hard and
              strong.

              JAY LENO:  Yeah.

              MITT ROMNEY:  Indomitable.

              JAY LENO:  Marco Rubio?


              MITT ROMNEY:  I'll try for smaller words next
              time.

              (Applause.)

              JAY LENO:  Yeah, we don't want to -- Marco Rubio?

              (Applause.)

              MITT ROMNEY:  The American dream.

              JAY LENO:  Okay.  That's three words.

              (Applause.)

              MITT ROMNEY:  I know, three words.  All right.
              American dream.

              JAY LENO:  American dream.

              MITT ROMNEY:  Yeah.

              JAY LENO:  Okay.  Paul Ryan?

              MITT ROMNEY:  Paul Ryan.  Creative.

              JAY LENO:  Creative?

              MITT ROMNEY:  Yeah.  Yeah.

              (Applause.)

              JAY LENO:  Nikki Haley?

              MITT ROMNEY:  Nikki Haley.  Energetic.

              JAY LENO:  Energetic.

              MITT ROMNEY:  Yeah.
              JAY LENO:  Donald Trump?

              MITT ROMNEY:  Huge.

              (Laughter.)

              (Applause.)

              JAY LENO:  Rick Santorum?

              MITT ROMNEY:  Press secretary.

              JAY LENO:  Press secretary.

              (Applause.)

              JAY LENO:  Now, this whole election, at least to
              me, it seems to be about the economy, or it should
              be about the economy.

              MITT ROMNEY:  Yeah.

              JAY LENO:  What would you change about the tax
              code?  What would you do there?

              MITT ROMNEY:  What I want to do with tax code is
              create more growth that creates more jobs, and
              puts more people in a position to have rising
              incomes, and to pay their taxes.  So how do you
              create a tax code that encourages small businesses
              to hire?  And the answer is, you bring down the
              marginal rates, at the same time you get rid of
              some deductions and exemptions, or you limit them,
              so that you stay with a code that's progressive.
              But you bring down those top tax rates, you get
              rid of some of the special deals, and by doing
              that you encourage investment and hiring of
              American workers.

              (Applause.)

              JAY LENO:  Because I know you said something
              interesting a while back.  What is the tax rate
              for corporations in most of the rest of the world?

              MITT ROMNEY:  Well, it's in the 20s.

              JAY LENO:  In the 20's.

              MITT ROMNEY:  Some nations are lower than that.
 

              JAY LENO:  Okay.

              MITT ROMNEY:  In the 20's.  Our corporate tax rate
              is 35 percent.  So I would want to bring that rate
              from 35, down to 25.  Get rid of some of the
              special breaks and special deals so we keep the
              same revenue coming in, but have a lower tax rate
              so it's a more attractive place for people to come
              and invest.  But do you know that 54 percent of
              American workers in the private sector work in
              business that are taxed at the individual tax
              rate, not the corporate tax rate?

              JAY LENO:  Right.

              MITT ROMNEY:  So when the President says he wants
              to raise that tax rate from 35 to 40 percent,
              he'll kill jobs and small business.  And I want to
              take that tax rate, bring it down to 28 percent so
              we can create more jobs.

              (Applause.)

              JAY LENO:  Now if corporations return -- if
              corporate profits come back to the U.S., would you
              give them Amnesty, a tax Amnesty?

              MITT ROMNEY:  Well, it's not so much Amnesty.
              It's a strange thing.  But let's say a company
              Caterpillar makes bulldozers over in China for the
              Chinese market.

              JAY LENO:  Right.

              MITT ROMNEY:  They don't bring the products back
              here, they make them there, and they sell them
              there.  And if they make profit there, if they
              keep the profit there and invest it in China, we
              don't charge them a U.S. tax.  But if they bring
              the money back there to build, let's say, a new
              factory in the United States, we're going to
              charge them up to the U.S. tax rate.  So we make
              it unattractive for business to bring money back.

              JAY LENO:  I see.  Yeah.

              MITT ROMNEY:  That makes no sense.  Bring the
              money back, invest in America, and let's not tax
              you for bringing money home.
 

              (Applause.)

              JAY LENO:  Right.  Okay.  We will take a break.
              More with Governor Romney right after this.


              JAY LENO:  Welcome back.  Talking with Governor
              Mitt Romney.  Today the Supreme Court is debating
              health care.  This is unprecedented.  It's like
              three days.  This is a huge deal.  They're
              debating this.

              MITT ROMNEY:  Yeah.  Yeah.

              JAY LENO:  Suppose they don't overturn it?
              Suppose they let it stand?  What do you do then if
              you're elected?

              MITT ROMNEY:  Well, day one, I will grant a waiver
              from Obama Care to all 50 states.  Just like the
              President's been doing with the Unions, and so
              forth.

              (Applause.)

              MITT ROMNEY:  So, that's number one.  And I'll
              also file legislation to repeal it entirely, and
              replace it.  It's not just getting rid of Obama
              Care.

              JAY LENO:  What do you replace it with, though?

              MITT ROMNEY:  Well, what you do is you give to the
              states their Medicaid dollars to care for their
              own poor in the way they think best, and then you
              allow people, individuals to buy insurance on
              their own account, on the same tax advantage basis
              that companies buy insurance today.  So people can
              own their own insurance.  As they go from job to
              job they won't have to worry about getting a
              condition that would keep them from getting
              insured.

              JAY LENO:  Well, what about pre-existing
              conditions in children?

              MITT ROMNEY:  Yeah.

              JAY LENO:  That' -- I mean, I know people who

              could not get insurance up until this Obama Care,
              and now they're covered.  Their pre-existing
              condition is covered.

              (Applause.)

              JAY LENO:  To me -- and children also.  It seems
              like children and people with pre-existing
              conditions should be covered.

              MITT ROMNEY:  Yeah.  Well, people who have been
              continuously insured, let's say someone's had a
              job for a while but insured, then they get real
              sick and they happen to lose a job, or change
              jobs, they find, gosh, I've got a pre-existing
              condition, I can't get insured.  I'd say no, no,
              no.  As long as you've been continuously insured,
              you ought to be able to get insurance going
              forward.  See, you have to take that problem away.
              You have to make sure the legislation doesn't
              allow insurance companies to reject people --

              JAY LENO:  So you would make the law stand for
              children and people with pre-existing conditions?

              MITT ROMNEY:  Well, people with pre-existing as
              long as they'd been insured before, they're going
              to be able to continue to have insurance.

              JAY LENO:  Well, suppose they were never insured
              before?

              MITT ROMNEY:  Well, if they're 45 years old, and
              they show up and they say "I want insurance
              because I've got a heart disease," it's like, hey,
              guys, we can't play the game like that.  You've
              got to get insurance when you are well.  And so
              and then if you get ill, then you're going to be
              covered.

              JAY LENO:  Yeah, but there a lot people that --
              see I only mention it because I know guys that
              work in auto industry and they're just not covered
              because they work in brake dust and could get
              it -- so they've just never been able to get
              insurance.  And they get to be 30, 35, they were
              never able to get insurance before, now they have
              it.  That seems like a good thing.

              MITT ROMNEY:  Well, we'll look at circumstance
  
              where someone was ill, and hasn't been insured so
              far.

              (Applause.)

              MITT ROMNEY:  But people have had the chance to be
              insured.  If you're working at an auto business,
              for instance.

              JAY LENO:  Right.

              MITT ROMNEY:  The companies carry insurance.  They
              insure all their employees.  You look at the
              circumstances that exist.  But people who have
              done their best to get insured are going to be
              able to be covered.  But you don't want everyone
              saying, "I'm going to get back until I get sick,"
              and then go buy insurance.

              JAY LENO:  No, of course not.  Of course.  Of
              course.

              MITT ROMNEY:  That doesn't make sense.  But you
              have to find rules that get people in that are
              playing by the rules.

              JAY LENO:  Tell me your feeling on this open mike
              incident with President Obama.  That doesn't seem
              that weird to me.  You talk with someone and then
              they say, "You know, when I get re-elected we'll
              have more flexibility."  That seems like politics
              as usual.

              MITT ROMNEY:  Yeah.

              JAY LENO:  Some things people would say, no?

              MITT ROMNEY:  I don't think so.  Russians are not
              politics as usual.  You have a nation which would
              like us to continue to withdraw our missile
              defense system.  I think it's critical for us to
              have a missile defense system.  I think the
              President's decision to pull our missile defense
              out of Poland was a very serious error.  I think
              his reduction missile defense in Alaska was an
              error.  And to say, "Look, you know, I can't talk
              about this right now, but I'll have more
              flexibility after I'm elected," suggests he has a
              different agenda he's going pursue once the
              American people aren't watching.  I think it's the
     wrong course.  I thought it was, frankly, a
              revealing --

              (Applause.)

              MITT ROMNEY:  -- and alarming.

              JAY LENO:  I mean, here's what the Russian
              President said.  He was talking about you, and he
              said today, "One needs to look at his watch.
              We're in 2012, not the mid 70s."  And it doesn't
              seem like Russia is our enemy anymore.  I mean,
              they're turning into us.  They have Kentucky Fried
              Chicken and McDonalds, and they love cars, and
              wear fancy clothes.  I mean, they're more like us
              than people we perceive as our enemies.  Aren't
              they?

              MITT ROMNEY:  Well, I don't want to call the
              Russians our -- you know, someone like us exactly.
              The Russian people certainly are people like us.
              But you have Vladimir Putin and Mr. Medvedev and
              their continuing to support Iran, and to keep us
              from putting in place crippling sanctions against
              Iran as it pursues its nuclear weaponry.  They
              continue to support Assad, Bashar Assad, in Syria.
              They continue to support people like Chavez and
              Castro.  I mean, they basically stand up for the
              world's worst actors.  And when America tries go
              put pressure on those actors with sanctions or
              other UN actions, Russia always stands us for what
              I would consider to be the world's worst leaders.
              So, if they were like us, they'd say, "You know
              what, get rid of Assad."  They'd say, "Iran, you
              may not have nuclear weapons.  That is
              unacceptable.  We're going to put in place
              crippling sanctions against you.  Kim Jong'Il open
              up your nation and let people have freedom."  If
              they were like us, they'd be speaking in favor of
              freedom, as opposed to opposing it.

              (Applause.)

              JAY LENO:  Okay.  Now let's talk about
              Afghanistan.  What do you make of this whole
              situation?  We're going to be pulling out, what --
              now, you felt we shouldn't have had a deadline.
              We shouldn't have said what the deadline was?

              MITT ROMNEY:  I don't think you publish deadlines.

              When you're in a conflict you don't say, "We're
              getting out as of this date," regardless of the
              circumstances.  I think that communicates to your
              opponent and to the other people who are trying to
              gauge how much they can depend on you, whether
              you're going to be there for them or not.  And so
              I think you have timelines in own your mind that
              working towards.  So, I think it was a mistake to
              say the specific date we withdraw.  I think it was
              a mistake to say the day we would end our combat
              operations.  I think the president made a mistake
              in not giving the number the troops that were
              necessary for the surge.  And believe that we have
              a potential of doing in Afghanistan what happened
              in Iraq, which is we pulled out without a status
              of forces agreement that would leave enough troops
              behind to give a greater certainty to our success
              in our mission there.

              JAY LENO:  I mean, do we have enough troops for
              all these wars?  I look at this very sad case of
              Robert Bales and these 16 people in Afghanistan
              that were killed.  And from all accounts this man
              seemed like a good soldier.  And I hope they don't
              portray him as a lone crazy guy, because he's a
              man who was there for four tours of duty, and he
              had a brain injury, and yet we keep sending him
              back.  How do we deal with a situation like this?
              Are we sending these guys just over and over?  Are
              we working our solders too hard?

              MITT ROMNEY:  Well, now that Iraq is completed,
              the number of rotations will come down.  And then
              of course in Afghanistan the number of troops are
              being brought down as well.  And we're not going
              to determine our foreign policy based upon the
              actions of one very ill individual.

              JAY LENO:  No, of course not.

              MITT ROMNEY:  But at a time like this the
              President's proposing reducing our number of
              active duty personnel.  And you raised, I think a
              very legitimate concern.  My view is we should be
              adding 100,000 active duty personnel, not reducing
              our military budget and reducing the number of
              people who can be in conflict protecting America.
              It's a dangerous world.  Let's not reduce our
              military.

       (Applause.)

              JAY LENO:  Now, you want to cut some federal
              agencies.  Which ones would you cut?  You haven't
              said which ones you would cut.

              MITT ROMNEY:  No, I haven't.  I've to go through
              piece by piece combine -- when I was Secretary --
              or excuse me -- when I was Governor of
              Massachusetts and we looked at the Secretary of
              Health and Human Services we had 15 different
              agencies.  We said let's combine those into three.
              We're not going to get rid of the work that they
              each do, but we're going to combine the overheads,
              we've not going to have as many lawyers and press
              secretaries and administrators, and that saves
              money and makes it more efficient.  And I hope to
              be able to do the same thing in Washington.

              (Applause.)

              JAY LENO:  Depends on whether I have the answer to
              that.  I mean, we'll look agency by agency I think
              where the opportunities are best.  But I'll take a
              lot of what Washington does and send back to the
              states.  And I'm talking Medicaid and food stamps,
              and housing vouchers, and training programs.  Give
              the money back to the states and they can run
              programs for their own poor in the way they think
              best.

              (Applause.)

              JAY LENO:  Governor, I hope we can talk again.
              Will you come back and see us again?

              MITT ROMNEY:  You bet ya.

Interview will air tonight, Tuesday, March 27 at 11:35 p.m. ET/PT on NBC.

JAY LENO’S MONOLOGUE HIGHLIGHTS TUESDAY, MARCH 27, 2012

DID YOU HEAR ABOUT THIS?  SIMON COWELL GOT QUITE A SCARE THIS WEEKEND.  SEEMS A WOMAN BROKE INTO HIS HOUSE WIELDING A BRICK.  ACCORDING TO THE POLICE REPORT THE WOMAN WAS WEARING A TIGHT, LOW CUT SEE THROUGH TOP, EXPOSING HER NIPPLES.  I'M SORRY, THAT WAS SIMON.  THAT WAS SIMON 

ANYWAY, I GUESS THE WOMAN LEFT IN TEARS AFTER SIMON CRITICIZED HER WARDROBE AND THE WAY SHE WAS HOLDING THE BRICK.  SO SHE JUST LEFT.

WE HAVE MITT ROMNEY ON THE SHOW TONIGHT!   WE HAVE TO BE NICE TO MITT –HE COULD BE OUR NEXT PRESIDENT, AND NBC IS STILL HOPING FOR A GOVERNMENT BAILOUT.

DID YOU SEE SANTORUM LOSE IT THE OTHER DAY?  HE HAD A HEATED EXCHANGE WITH A NEW YORK TIMES REPORTER.  HE WAS CURSING THE GUY OUT.  GIVE YOU AN IDEA HOW MAD HE WAS; SANTORUM SAID HE WISHED THE REPORTER’S PARENTS HAD USED BIRTH CONTROL.

NEWT GINGRICH HAS BEGUN CHARGING $50 TO HAVE YOUR PHOTO TAKEN WITH HIM AT CAMPAIGN EVENTS. HE'S JUST ONE PRIMARY LOSS AWAY FROM PEOPLE CHARGING HIM $50.

YESTERDAY WAS NANCY PELOSI'S BIRTHDAY; THEY HAD A HUGE SURPRISE PARTY FOR HER.  ACTUALLY IT WAS A REGULAR PARTY, SHE JUST ALWAYS LOOKS SURPRISED.

SHE IS THE ONLY PERSON THAT CAN BLOW OUT THE CANDLES AND SMILE AT THE SAME TIME.

MORE PROBLEMS FOR THE FORMER SENATOR AND PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE; A MADAM IN NEW YORK CITY CLAIMS THAT JOHN EDWARDS WAS A CUSTOMER IN HER BROTHEL.  YOU KNOW, YOU HEAR THAT KIND OF THING AND IT REALLY MAKES YOU LOSE RESPECT FOR PROSTITUTES, DOESN’T IT?

IN FACT, THIS MIGHT BE THE FIRST TIME WHERE THE HOOKER IS MORE EMBARRASSED ABOUT BEING CAUGHT THAN THE JOHN.

 



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