Finally the whole truth comes out about why Gov. Romney wasn’t originally scheduled to appear at this forum:
When Mitt Romney’s aides told him last month that the main reason they were skipping Sen. Jim DeMint’s Labor Day forum was that he had already committed to attend an event in New Hampshire that day, the candidate was not pleased.
“So you’re telling me the reason we’re not doing this is logistical?” Romney asked, according to one aide. “That’s not good. We’re going to the DeMint forum. Make it so.”
In case you missed it… the reports are that Mitt once again shone brightly at the Palmetto Freedom Forum today that was held in Columbia South Carolina.
Here are the videos of Mitt’s portion of the forum: (each candidate answered questions for 20 minutes)
Jennifer Rubin: Romney has his best outing in South Carolina
As for the rest of his performance, he was able to answer a series of questions on whether he’d repeal Dodd-Frank and Sarbanes-Oxley and whether he’d privatize Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. He gave some of his best answers of the campaign, explaining how Sarbanes-Oxley killed the middle market of businesses, making it unduly onerous to go public. He got in a shot at the authors of Dodd-Frank, pointing out that they were in charge of regulating Fannie and Freddie and should have been the last people to draft financial regulation.
On foreign policy he was asked what he’d do differently from Obama: “I’d have one.” He then gave a discourse on projecting American power and chastised President Obama for “kicking Israel under the bus.”
Had Perry shown up, he would have had his hands full dealing with Mitt Romney. The former Massachusetts governor originally turned down DeMint’s invitation and decided to appear only after seeing Perry rocket to the front of the Republican pack. But once on stage, especially when faced with a series of questions on financial regulation — Dodd-Frank, Fannie and Freddie, the Community Reinvestment Act, Sarbanes-Oxley — Romney delivered a masterful performance. Asking Romney about financial matters and the economy is like asking former Sen. Rick Santorum about abortion — it’s something he seems to understand deep inside himself.
And even on the issue of abortion, on which he has famously flip-flopped, Romney found a way to shine. Conservative Princeton professor Robert P. George, one of the questioners, asked each candidate about a hugely unlikely scenario in which Congress, relying on the 14th Amendment, would pass a law overturning Roe v. Wade and set up a constitutional showdown with the Supreme Court over abortion. Repeated over and over, the question had the feel of a personal cause rather than an urgent national issue. Romney’s carefully phrased answer was, in effect, no thanks. “I’m not looking to create a constitutional crisis,” he told George.
Emily Friedman: Romney Gets Personal at South Carolina Forum
Romney has mostly stayed mum about faith during his campaign, but today offered a rare glimpse into his personal relationship with God and how it relates to his ability to cope in difficult situations.
“I go on my knees,” Romney said of his decision-making process. “I’m a person of faith and I look for inspiration.”
The biggest applause of the afternoon came when he was asked what he would change about President Obama’s foreign policy.
“A lot,” Romney quipped, audibly delighting the crowd. “First, I’d have one.”
(click each of the titles to read the rest of the article)
Bachmann, Cain, Gingrich and Paul also participated in the forum today. Rick Perry was scheduled to be there as well but excused himself just hours before to attend to emergencies in his state of Texas due to wildfires.
~Update from Ross
Our friends at ComMITTed to Romney have the text version of Mitt’s answers posted here if you want to use them in the future.