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Excerpts from Governor Mitt Romney, speaking in Washington

Romney on religion

"It's a small slice of people who'd just as soon not vote for a Mormon, all things being equal. All things aren’t equal, though. People are different. And when my dad ran for president in 1968, I think people looked at him, they looked at his record, they looked at his vision, they looked at his beliefs. Americans want people of faith to lead their country. And they look the whole package and said, 'Well, all things being equal, I wouldn't vote for a Mormon, or I'm not favorable toward a Mormon, but all things aren't equal, and I like that guy George Romney.' And that's why he was so popular, and why he led in the polls until he got 'brainwashed.'"

'There's the very small slice that boy, they won't vote for a Mormon no matter what. There are advantages and disadvantages that everybody brings. The advantage that my faith brings is that in some states, it’ll be of help."

"The great majority of Evangelicals look to see that a person in my state and probably nationally is a person who is a person of faith, and where they feel that they're on the same page with regards to key issues."

"Members of my faith vote Republican more than any faith in America."

Romney on abortion

“I’m in a different place today than I was 12 years ago.”

“Where would I draw the line [of where life begins], because everybodydraws the line somewhere. Where do I draw the line? And after consideration, and after the review of that, I decided that, in my view, the line is at conception. The line is that life, from a scientific standpoint, begins at conception. I don’t know when the soul, if you’re religious, when the soul enters the body. My church doesn’t teach that by the way, doesn’t have an opinion on it. So I don’t know when it does. I know Catholics believe it does at conception.”

Romney on where he breaks with President Bush

“There are plenty of places where I would separate from the administration, if that’s what you mean, where I would have chosen a different course.”

“There’s some places that surely every Republican across the country will say, well I disagree with that policy, or I disagree with that policy.” “Certainly with regards to the war in Iraq, or the front in Iraq, where there mistakes made there? Absolutely. Would I have done it differently? Of course. Would the president have done it differently, based on what he knows today? Of course, in some measures.

"Going in, we wouldn’t have rested our entire case on weapons of mass destruction, had we known that when we got there, we wouldn’t be able to find them. We probably would have explained to the American people in great depth, and the world community, the broader set of reasons for the president’s decision to enter Iraq. My guess is as well that, had we known what we were going to face after the period of what’s been called major conflict was completed, had we known what was coming later, we would have probably done some things differently.

"Now I haven’t studied with the generals enough to know exactly what we would have done differently, but I’m confident that, based on what we know today, we probably needed more troops early on, following the period of major conflict.”

On his biggest mistakes as governor:

"Certainly some of the most important mistakes are mistakes of personnel.”

"Very early on, I went pretty aggressively after some issues that I would have been wiser to save for a sunnier day. I, for instance, looked for a whole new system for the state to reimburse local schools. We have one, but I wanted to change the whole thing. And at the same time, we were going through an economic retrenchment, and so I came out with my plan at the same time I was cutting certain payments to schools _ actually, I wasn’t cutting the payments, but the Legislature was, and cities and towns were seeing a reduction. And it was a bad idea. There is a time and season for all things, and deciding when to bring something out and when not to is something which I learned early on.”

“Surely some of the other mistakes are not having been able to predict appropriately, or oversee the prevention of, for instance, the killing of Father Geoghan.”

On the impact of congressional scandals on Republican candidates

“There’s not the energy and passion around this topic on Main Street as there might be in the centers of government here in Washington, DC. The story that there’s corruption in Washington and that money has too much influence, they have heard before.”

“The idea that money has influence in politics is not a major story in major parts of the country.”

On the Medicare prescription drug benefit:

“As a state, I love it. We’re getting a lot more money from the federal government. It’s great for us. But it’s a new entitlement program, and I would have wanted to finance that entitlement with reforms and changes and adjustments in the overall program.”

On how his health-care plan differs from “Hillarycare”

“It does not require any new taxes. It does not require any new regulation. It does not require any new agency to oversee it.”

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