Below is a complete transcript, produced by Mother Jones, of the entire unedited Romney videos that we published on Tuesday. (See our exclusive coverage of Romney writing off Obama voters and trashing the Mideast peace process at his recent fundraiser in Florida.) Read on, or jump directly to these highlights from Romney:
- On the 47 percent of Americans "who will vote for the president no matter what."
- On the dividends of his anticipated November 6 victory: "we'll see—without actually doing anything—we'll actually get a boost in the economy."
- On the "almost unthinkable prospects" for Mideast peace: "I look at the Palestinians not wanting to see peace anyway…and I say there's just no way."
And here are some telling moments you may not have heard about yet:
- Mocking immigration in the United States: "[If] you have no skill or experience…you're welcome to cross the border and stay here for the rest of your life."
- Envisioning a pre-election hostage crisis, à la Iran and Jimmy Carter: "If something of that nature presents itself, I will work to find a way to take advantage of the opportunity."
- Claiming that "the Fed is buying like three-quarters of the debt that America issues." (Which, despite Romney's expertise in finance, is plain wrong.)
- Joking about media strategy and his reputation as a "rich, rich guy": "You know that I'm as poor as a church mouse."
- Making enemies on the late-night talk show circuit: "Now Letterman hates me because I've been on Leno more than him."
- An odd rant from an audience member: "How are you going to win if 54 percent of the voters think China's economy is bigger than ours? Or if it costs 4 cents to make a penny and we keep making pennies? Canada got it right a month ago. Why isn't someone saying, 'Stop making pennies, round it to the nearest nickel?' You know, that's an easy thing, compared to Iran."
Romney: ...And I guess everybody here is a dignitary, and I appreciate your help. And by the way, I am serious about the food. Bring that…clear the place, but Hilary has to eat her beets. [Audience laughs.] I'm gonna—because the table is small enough and the room is intimate enough, I'd like to spend our time responding to questions you have, listening to advice you might have. Occasionally, as I did just a moment ago, I get envelopes like that, which is, and I'll open this and there'll be campaign ideas—"Why don't you talk about the following issues…"—so I'm happy to take advice and then we can all vote on it, whether it's a good piece of advice or bad advice. And so we'll get a chance to do that, but I'm looking to get your perspectives. Just to tell you a couple of things you may not know about me. You probably know that I'm father of five and grandfather now of 18—my oldest son just had twins just last week, and so our grandchild nest is getting larger, and they're a source of great joy. When I was probably halfway through my career at Bain Consulting, I met with a lawyer to draft a will, and she said, "How do you want to divide what estate you might eventually have?" And I said—I didn't have anything at that point—I said, "I want to divide it equally among my five sons." And she said, "Well, how much will you want to give to the grandchildren that they will ultimately have," and I said, "Well, I don't want to give anything to the grandchildren—I'll give it to the sons, and they in turn will give it to their children as needed." And she said, "You'll change your mind." And I said, "No, I don't think so." So I saw her not long ago, and I said, "I don't want to give anything to my sons, I want to give it [to all to my grandchildren.] [Audience laughs.]
Audience member: You lost Samantha's vote. [Audience laughs.]
Romney: This, uh, it's not as…
Audience member: This is my daughter. [More laughter.]
Romney: It's not just because I love my grandchildren, as I do, and I love my sons and [unintelligible], it's that I'm very concerned about what the nation is gonna be like over the coming decade or two. And I really do. As I said in my remarks earlier, I see these two very different scenarios. One is as America really powering the world economy, with an extraordinary economy here, with China working with us, wanting to see stability in the world, and a very vibrant America, with freedom and prosperity for the great bulk of the American people. On the other hand, I really do see something like Europe. And I think that's the path we're on right now. So that's why I wanna make sure what little I'll have left after the campaigns goes to you know, goes to my grandchildren. That's one piece about me that you may not know. The other is just about my heritage—my dad, you probably know, was the governor of Michigan and was the head of a car company, but he was born in Mexico. And had he been born of Mexican parents I'd have a better shot at winning this, but he was [audience laughs] unfortunately born of Americans living in Mexico. They'd lived there for a number of years, and, uh, I mean I say that jokingly, but it'd be helpful if they'd been Latino…
Audience member: Pull an Elizabeth Warren!
Romney: That's right. Those that don't know Elizabeth Warren—she's the woman who's running for US Senate in Massachusetts, who said that she's Cherokee, has put in her application over the years that she's Cherokee, and Harvard put down that she's one of their minority faculty members. It turns out that at most she's 1/32 Cherokee, and even that can't be proven. So, in any event, yeah, I can put down my dad was born in Mexico and leave it at that. But his dad was in construction, very successful in Mexico, but in America went broke more than once. So my dad never had the money or time to get a college degree. Without a college degree, became head of a big car company and ultimately a governor. And believed in America, believed in the opportunity in this country, never doubted for a moment that he could achieve his dreams. And Ann's dad, my wife's dad, was born in Wales. His dad was a coal miner. This coal miner got injured in a coal mining accident; realizing that there was no future there for him or his four children, he came to Detroit and worked in the auto factories until he could save enough money to bring his kids over, which he did. And then they got together as a family and said, you know, to be successful in America, you've got to get an education. And they couldn't afford an education. And the kids and the parents said you know, if we all work, and we all save, we could afford to send one of us to college. And they, they sent my wife's dad.
Can you imagine working every day, taking a couple of jobs, saving your money so that your brother could go to—I mean, I would never do that for my brother—that he could go to co…so he went to college, and got a degree at the General Motors Institute of Technology, which is one of these programs where you work a semester, and then you go to school a semester and…and then after it was over he started a little company, he became more successful, and he was able to hire his brothers and his brother-in-law, and provide for them in an extraordinary way. By the way, both my dad and Ann's dad did quite well in their life, but when they came to the end of their lives, and, and passed along inheritances to Ann and to me, we both decided to give it all away. So, I had inherited nothing. Everything that Ann and I have we earned the old-fashioned way, and that's by hard work and…[applause] I see that—