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Excerpts from Governor Mitt Romney's Remarks at the Conservative Members Retreat

February 02, 2007

[Below are key excerpts of Governor Romney's remarks as prepared for delivery.]

Governor Romney's Conservative Leadership:

"When I ran for governor, I ran as a fiscal conservative - I had a background in building businesses, and I could tell there was a better way to run our state government. Massachusetts, like a lot of states in 2002, was facing a fiscal crisis - and I wanted to help solve that crisis, without resorting to higher taxes.

"I am proud to say that we did just that - but a funny thing happened along the way. The fiscal crisis was solved, but a new set of crises began.

"Massachusetts became a center stage for the most divisive issues facing our nation today.

"The issue of gay marriage came up. In the 2002 campaign, I was asked for my view on the matter, and I gave it - I was then and remain today, opposed to gay marriages and civil unions.

"But a year later, judges decided to legalize gay marriage in the state - the voters didn't get to decide, the legislature didn't get to decide, certainly I wasn't asked for my opinion, and I guess 3,000 years of recorded history didn't matter either. By a 4 to 3 margin, the judges on the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court decided to redefine the institution of marriage.

"And meanwhile, just a few T stops from the Statehouse, over at Harvard; scientists were preparing to clone human embryos - experimenting with human life itself.

"I didn't ask for these issues to be put on my plate. But as Governor I didn't have the luxury of silently sitting on the sidelines. I spent a lot of time looking at these issues, talked to a lot of people, and thought seriously about them and their implications.

"The issues of marriage and life are at the heart of a civil society. We need to be wary of those who experiment with life, who experiment with our kids, and those who toy with the building blocks of the family and society.

"The sad truth is that these experiments have been playing out for decades, and the ones who pay the price for failure are not the scientists, or the university sociologists, or the judges, or the liberal policymakers - the ones who pay the price for liberal experiments sometimes don't even have a voice. And it's time they have a voice.

"So on the issue of life, this fiscal conservative became a social conservative as well. I'm committed to defending the institution of marriage, family, and human life.

"I believe in a divine creator. And I believe every single person in the entire world is a child of God - and that as a civilized people we ought to respect life.

"I believe fundamentally that there's nothing more important to society than the family.

"And I believe in treating all people with respect and dignity and tolerance despite our differences."

Governor Romney On The Right Strategy To Prevent A Nuclear Iran:

"Someone else considering a run for the White House recently addressed the Iran issue, and you won't be surprised to find out that I don't agree with her approach.

"In a speech last night in New York City, Senator Hillary Clinton said that she needs to quote 'understand' unquote Iran better - and to help her with her education process, that we should quote 'engage Iran' unquote.

"Friends, someone who doesn't understand Iran hasn't been paying attention - at this point, we don't need a listening tour with Iran. While I support gathering intelligence about our adversaries in any way possible, engaging is not the right policy. To the contrary, economic and diplomatic isolation must be our priority.

"Indeed, she argued that our strategy of engagement with the Soviet Union during the Cold War was a model for how we could deal with Iran. Now, for all the former Soviet Union's flaws, at least they maintained a commitment to national survival. They were not suicidal. The same cannot be said about the Iranian regime. And we must stop making analogies that are disconnected from the world in which we operate.

"And someone who wants to engage Iran displays a troubling timidity towards a terrible threat."

Mitt Romney, Excerpts from Governor Mitt Romney's Remarks at the Conservative Members Retreat Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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