During my tape travels on Friday, looking for sound bites from Mitt Romney, I listened to a 1994 speech from the campaign trail, when Romney was running against Senator Ted Kennedy. A reporter asked Mr. Romney about his stance on reforming lobbying practices in Washington, and to my surprise, Romney wrapped up his response with:
“The kinds of demands that are being placed on the economics of running a campaign suggest an increasing power on the part of monied interest and I think it’s wrong. And we’ve got to change it.”
Fast forward to 2012: Romney has outraised President Obama for the third straight month; raking in more than $25 million than his Democratic opponent in July. That’s not to mention casino mogul, Sheldon Adelson, has shelled out $10 million to the pro-Romney super PAC, Restore Our Future.
I wonder what Mitt Romney of 1994 would think of the astronomical contributions that the current GOP presumptive presidential nominee is receiving?
Watch the entire question and answer portion here (from 21:11- 23:36), thanks to our friends at CSPAN.
Tape transcript after the jump for those who can’t play the video…
Tape transcript for Q&A part:
REPORTER: MR ROMNEY, WHERE DO YOU STAND ON REFORM FOR THE CURRENT LOBBYIST SITUATION WE HAVE IN WASHINGTON?
ROMNEY: WELL, LET ME JUST GIVE YOU A VIEW – JUST – OVERVIEW OF WHAT I THINK ABOUT ABOUT CONGRESS AND WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE IN CONGRESS. I’M PERSONALLY OF THE OF THE BELIEF THAT MONEY PLAYS A MUCH MORE IMPORTANT ROLE IN WHAT IS DONE IN WASHINGTON THAN WE BELIEVE. I PERSONALLY BELIEVE THAT WHEN CAMPAIGNS SPEND THE KIND OF MONEY THAT THEY’RE NOW SPENDING – THIS RACE I UNDERSTAND TED KENNEDY WILL SPEND ABOUT 10 MILLION DOLLARS TO BE RE-ELECTED. HE’S BEEN IN 32 YEARS, 10 MILLION DOLLARS.
(21:42) I THINK THAT’S WRONG BECAUSE… AND THAT’S NOT HIS OWN MONEY, THAT’S ALL FROM OTHER PEOPLE AND TO GET THAT KIND OF MONEY YOU’VE GOT TO COZY UP AS AN INCUMBENT TO ALL OF THE SPECIAL INTEREST GROUPS WHO CAN GO OUT AND RAISE MONEY FOR YOU FROM THEIR MEMBERS. AND THAT KIND THAT KIND OF RELATIONSHIP HAS AN INFLUENCE ON THE WAY YOU’RE GOING TO VOTE.
(21:59) YOU KNOW…READ THE PAPERS THIS MORNING. THERE’S AN ARTICLE IN THERE ABOUT A CONTRIBUTION FROM FEDERAL EXPRESS. DOES THAT HAVE ANY RELATIONSHIP TO THE CAMPAIGN? I DON’T KNOW. I SAW THAT THE AMERICAN TRIAL LAWYERS ASSOCIATION, AND LAWYERS IN GENERAL, HAVE CONTRIBUTED, I THINK , WELL OVER A MILLION DOLLARS, TO TED KENNEDY’S CAMPAIGN. WELL, DOES THAT HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH THE FACT THAT HE WAS UNWILLING TO CUT OFF A FILIBUSTER FOR, UH… PRODUCT LIABILITY REFORM? WHO KNOWS? BUT THESE KINDS OF ASSOCAITONS BETWEEN MONEY AND POLITICS, IN MY VIEW, ARE WRONG. AND FOR THAT REASON, I WOULD LIKE TO HAVE CAMPAIGN SPENDING LIMITS.
(22:33) AND TO SAY WE’RE NOT GOING TO SPEND MORE THAN THIS IN CERTAIN CAMPAIGNS… AT A CAMPAIGN FOR SENATOR OR U.S. REPRESENTATIVE OR SO FORTH. BECAUSE, OTHERWISE, I THINK YOU HAVE MONEY PLAYING FAR TOO IMPORTANT A ROLE. I ALSO WOULD ABOLISH PACS
(22:43) YOU PROBABLY HAVE ONE. I DON’T LIKE THEM. I DON’T LIKE THE INFLUNECE OF MONEY –WHETHER IT’S BUSINESS, LABOR, OR ANY OTHER GROUP. I DO NOT LIKE THAT KIND OF INFLUENCE. LOBBYISTS I WANT TO REGISTER, KNOW WHO THEY ARE. I WANT TO MAKE SURE THAT GIFTS ARE LIMITED. I THINK WE HAVE TO REALLY BECOME MUCH MORE VIGILANT IN SEEING THE IMPACT ON MONEY AND I DON’T CARE HOW IT’S ORGANIZED… ON MONEY AND POLITICS.
(23:08) AND I’M NOT IN FAVOR OF HAVING PUBLIC FUNDING OF CAMPAIGNS TO DO THAT. I THINK CONTRIBUTIONS ARE FINE. I JUST DON’T WANT THEM TO BE LARGER AND LARGER… LOOK IT’S 10 MILLION DOLLARS THIS YEAR. MY GUESS IS THAT UH THAT SIX YEARS FROM NOW, YOU KNOW, THE RACE WILL BE 15 AND AFTER THAT… I MEAN YOU HEAR CALIFORNIA SENATOR UH CONGRESSMAN HUFFINGTON, 25 MILLION DOLLARS GOING INTO THAT RACE. THE KINDS OF DEMANDS THAT ARE BEING PLACED ON THE ECONOMICS OF RUNNING A CAMPAIGN SUGGEST AN INCREASING POWER ON THE PART OF MONIED INTEREST AND I THINK IT’S WRONG. AND WE’VE GOT TO CHANGE IT