Video, Transcript: Part One of Bill Hemmer’s Interview With Mitt and Ann Romney
Over the holiday weekend, Bill Hemmer spent time with the Romney family in California and sat down with Mitt and Ann Romney for an exclusive interview.
Watch part one of the interview below and tune in Thursday at 9a ET for part two.
BILL HEMMER: I asked a lot of people what they would ask you. What would you say to the governor if you had a chance? And most said they did not know enough about you. Does that surprise you?
MITT ROMNEY: Oh, I don’t think so at this early stage. We’re just beginning a general election. We’ve gone through a primary, not a lot of people have focused time on the characteristics of a new candidate like myself.
And people will get to know me better. I’m -- my guess is they’re going to get to know more about me than they’d like to by the time we’re finished.
BILL HEMMER: And a lot of people that have talked to me about that process think that you’re a tough guy to crack.
BILL HEMMER: Is there truth to that?
ANN ROMNEY: It depends on who’s asking.
MITT ROMNEY: You know, I don’t know whether that’s the case or not.
MITT ROMNEY: As people get to know me a little better, they’ll -- some will like me, some won’t. It’s probably the nature of most folks.
BILL HEMMER: What do you think about that Mrs. Romney?
ANN ROMNEY: I just think he’s very private and the thing that is interesting for me is to see that there are misperceptions out there about how people think they know him. So this is why I love having the opportunity to say this is the narrative that I want, and this is the real narrative and the real person --
BILL HEMMER: And that’s part of the process, too, and all that. But you once ran a company. You ran a company in 2001, I think, at $12 billion in assets. What kind of a boss were you?
MITT ROMNEY: Well, you have to ask the people that worked with me.
BILL HEMMER: Well, what do you -- ?
BILL HEMMER: Were you the first one in the morning? Were you the last one to leave? Did you take three-hour lunches?
ANN ROMNEY: First one in the morning, not long -- no lunches and the last one to leave. I mean, he is a -- he is the hardest working person I’ve ever met besides his father, George Romney, who was a crazy man. But he --
ANN ROMNEY: -- crazy good, crazy unbelievable good and --
MITT ROMNEY: They called my dad "The Brick." That was his nickname, The Brick, just solid. Just couldn’t penetrate.
BILL HEMMER: What about you as a boss? How would you describe yourself?
MITT ROMNEY: Well, again, I’m not the right one to describe that. But I didn’t see myself as a boss. I saw myself as someone that would help organize an extraordinary people. And the people that worked at the firm I worked in were exceptionally bright, highly motivated with extraordinary insights, a number of them better than I on a series of dimensions.
And I wasn’t always the highest compensated. I was the guy that set the compensation, but I paid other people more than I paid myself because I thought they were doing a better job.
BILL HEMMER: Here you are, traveling all over the country and you’re meeting with middle class families that have been through some kind of trauma over the past four years, and they were fighting to stay alive just to get through it. They’ll save themselves and their kids from drowning, financially speaking.
BILL HEMMER: How do you make a connection to those people?
MITT ROMNEY: You know, as I speak to people that are middle America, what I find is that the statistics understate the kind of pain and insecurity that exist in America’s homes. I see people who may be employed, but are very concerned they could lose their job at any time.
BILL HEMMER: And back to the connection aspect of this, there will be people -- and you know this already -- who will look at you as just a successful rich guy.
MITT ROMNEY: Like FDR and (inaudible) John F. Kennedy (inaudible) there have been plenty of people. This is --
MITT ROMNEY: There’s not a nation that divides people based upon whether they’ve been successful or not. We don’t say, oh, boy, this person won the lottery and therefore they can’t understand me or -- we instead look at people and celebrate their success and their achievement and we look for people who have the skills we think will make our lives better. The real need in America is to help middle income families get good jobs with rising incomes and more security and help people who are poor come out of poverty and become middle income.