Here is a transcript of the interview ETWN’s Raymond Arroyo did with presidential candidate Gov. Mitt Romney.
Transcript of Selected Excerpts from Exclusive Mitt Romney Interview with Raymond Arroyo to air on The World Over Live on EWTN, Thursday, August 23rd 8PM Eastern
HHS Mandate & Cardinal Dolan
Raymond Arroyo: The Catholic community in this country and people across the faith spectrum were outraged by President Obama’s HHS Mandate – requiring abortifacients and contraceptives to be made available to employees. It set off protests by the Catholic bishops and individual people of faith. What will you do as president about that HHS Mandate?
Gov. Romney: Well, first of all I’ll continue to meet with to Cardinal [Timothy] Dolan [of New York and President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops] – who by the way is going to offer the benediction on the last evening of the Republican Convention after my acceptance speak. So I am making it very clear that the interest of religious freedom is something I support wholeheartedly and will work with him and with others to assure that each piece of legislation that we consider is thought also in terms of its impact on religious freedom and tolerance. This is a nation where our first freedom is the right to worship God as we choose, and any effort on the part of the federal government to intrude on religious liberty and to reject tolerance in favor of a government mandate is a violation of that first freedom.
Reacting to President Obama’s Charge that Romney means to lower his Personal Tax Burden
Raymond Arroyo: This weekend, the President accused you of choosing Paul Ryan to lower your own tax rate. He said, this is so Mitt Romney could lower his rate to an effective one-percent rate. Your reaction.
Gov. Romney: [Chuckle] That’s a little silly. Obviously, I pay a very substantial amount of money on taxes, also give substantially to charity, and well more than 20 percent – well more – goes to charity and taxes. And I’m not in this race, and I haven’t contributed the money to my campaigns and the time in my campaigns to try to lower my tax bill.
What I’m concerned about is helping people who don’t have work to be able to have a good job. I want folks to know that when they retire, they’re retirement is secure. I want moms and dads to know that their child is going to get an education that will lead to a good job. And I want people to know if they get ill, they’ll get health care that is good and affordable. Those are the reasons that I’m running for president.
And sometimes what Peter says about Paul says more about Peter than Paul. So, I don’t know what the President’s taxes are doing these days.
How Being A Bishop in The Mormon Church Prepared Romney for the Presidency
Raymond: I want to return to your faith for a moment. As a bishop in your church, you helped immigrants who were new to this country, you helped couples make ends meet and balance their budgets, you helped unemployed people find work. How did that position as a leader in your church prepare you for this job you seek?
Romney: Well there’s no question that being a pastor, if you will, a small “p” pastor, where you are working with people of all different backgrounds, different ethnicities, different economic circumstances, some employed and unemployed, as you work with those people, as you try to provide for them a positive path forward in their lives, you understand the very real concerns and pains people have, the struggles that they have. You want to help them and that is one of the things that draws me to this race. I want to help the hundreds of millions of Americans who want to see a brighter and more prosperous future, and I think I know how to do that. And, I’ve laid out the plans that would get America doing what it needs to do to give people good jobs and more take home pay again.
Campaigning with Paul Ryan
Raymond Arroyo: I want to talk about Paul Ryan, your running mate. Watching you all on the trail, and I seen you in person once and now on television a number of times together. You seem rejuvenated. You seem more on point. Why not campaign together? I know that defies the conventional wisdom. Is that going to be a pattern in these last two months of the campaign?
Gov. Romney: Well, we will surely have events that take us together and allow us to campaign to groups of people, and they get to see how we work together. And by the way, I agree with you. I like working with Paul. We have different life experiences. We can each draw on those experiences to do a better job.
At the same time, we have to do something that the President has really caused us to do, which is to have to raise an inordinate amount of money. This is the first post-Watergate president who doesn’t have federal spending limits. He’s brushed them aside. So to be competitive, we got to raise a lot of money, and that means Paul has to go one way, I go another to get the funds necessary to keep up on the air.
Arroyo: I noticed he hasn’t worn a tie since you made him your running mate. Is this a rule in the Romney camp – no ties for Ryan?
Romney: [Laughter] You know, Paul dresses the way he wants to dress. I give him no guidance whatsoever. But in our rallies, we’re typically outdoors on a very hot and sunny day. And who in the heck is going to wear a tie and a jacket on a hot day? Just guys like you, the commentators. [Laughter]
Arroyo: Yes, thanks a lot.