CPAC – Mitt Romney

CPAC 2007 Logo Governor Mitt Romney came by Bloggers Row after his CPAC speech and I got the chance to shake his hand and ask him a few questions.

His pitch, like that of most candidates, is very high level and platitudinous: Cut government spending, change the culture of Washington, increase efficiency, reach across the aisle, and so forth.

I asked him how exactly he planned to do these things. He said that he’d use the threat of the veto to force Congress to work with him. Asked what he would cut, he said he would have a commission look at efficiency cuts and that he’d peg non-defense discretionary spending at one percent below inflation and that doing this would save $300 billion over ten years. I noted that $30 billion a year amounts to a rounding error in the federal budget but he said it would add up.

Ultimately, Romney is quite polished and reasonably charismatic. Like the other major candidates–and unlike the man they’re seeking to succeed–he’s an excellent public speaker.

Thus far, though, he’s not willing to be pinned down on controversial public policy matters. I can’t say that I blame him.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. is why. Since the exhibit hall where the bloggers were located was filled with people and noise I first thought I had misheard, but James Joyner clarified that I had heard it correctly. James tried to get Romney to say something other than the usual boilerplate, and all he got was a rounding error. Romney has over-coiffed hair. A little less perfect would look a lot better. In the early evening we went for happy hour at Mediterra courtesy of

  2. Archives December 2006 August 2006 June 2006 May 2006 April 2006 March 2006 February 2006 [IMG Outside The Beltway | OTB] CPAC – Mitt Romney Army Secretary Resigns Amid Walter Reed Probe Katie Couric in 3rd Place South Carolina Straw Poll Beltway Traffic Jam CPAC – Ann Coulter Swiss Accidentally Invade Liechtenstein Vilsack Whines About Polls

  3. Maggie says:


    Dr. J.J., I do believe that is the first time I have heard/read that word being used in anyone’s commentary/prose. It rarely escapes the dictionary.


  4. Triumph says:

    Dr. J.J., I do believe that is the first time I have heard/read that word being used in anyone’s commentary/prose. It rarely escapes the dictionary.


    Maggie, the reason you have never heard of the word “platitudious” being used in anybody’s prose is because it is a neologism of Dr. J.J.’s own design.

    Unless, of course, he meant platitudinous. In that case, the word that so impressed you was merely a typographical error.

  5. […] There’s no question that Mayor Guiliani is still learning his way when it comes to being a Presidential candidate, and he may not yet feel comfortable standing and taking detailed questions from thoughtul questionners like James Joyner. (It’s also possible that his advisors don’t view him as ready.) Either way, I hope he gets that comfort level soon. He could have scored big points today, so from that standpoint, it’s a missed opportunitiy. Related Posts » Funniest Siting in the First Fifteen Minutes at CPAC» Who gets each party’s nomination in 2008? Wanna bet?» Clinton Loses His Cool» The Nanny State Strikes Again» Blog Row […]

  6. I wonder if Mitt realizes that Conservatives aren’t really looking for a candidate who will reach across the aisle and work with people who are going to, based on the past 6 years, stab him in the back.

    He might try telling us a bit on the three major issues: taxes, illegal immigration, and national security.

  7. laura says:

    Republicans appear to be running against their own party’s history. It was the Reagan administration that started the Republican party down the road of fiscal irresponisbility, extremist, partisan tactics (Atwater), and corruption asmby out of control spending, policy making by influence peddlers, abuse of political power (Iran Contra), and so on.

  8. James Joyner says:

    Triumph: Yes, just a typo. I actually fixed it earlier this morning before seeing your comment.

    William: We don’t elect dictators but presidents. There’s these things called Separation of Powers and Checks and Balances that the Framers built into our system. Working with Congress is an essential part of leadership.

    Laura: Atwater’s “extremism,” such as it was, was on behalf of George H.W. Bush, not Reagan. I agree that the Gipper allowed spending to get out of control, although at least he did it for a good cause (beating the Soviets). I don’t think he invented or exacerbated influence peddling and the like.

  9. True, James, true. I perhaps should have been a bit clearer, in saying that Mitt should talk more about Conservative ideals, and what the base is looking for, more then crossing the aisle to work with democrats. That one is rather far down the list.