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Romney Campaign Press Release - In Case You Missed It: Governor Romney On Ahmadinejad At The U.N. And Columbia University

September 20, 2007

Governor Romney Interview

"Bill Bennett's Morning In America"

September 20, 2007

Bill Bennett: "On Iran, you have been as strong and tough as anybody running for president, that's for sure."

Governor Romney: "Well, Iran has obviously been on everybody's scope. But very early on, I've recognized that this is a real serious problem for the entire civilized world, and we've got to be talking about it and deciding how we're going to build the kind of consensus around the world to make sure that Iran does not become a nuclear nation."

Bennett: "Now, what exactly is your position on the Ahmadinejad visit? You don't think he should be allowed into New York or the plane shouldn't land? You remember Tom Kaine and Cuomo back then when the Russians said they wouldn't give their landing rights for the Russian airplane. Do you want to let them land and not go to the U.N.? What is your position?"

Governor Romney: "Well, there are lots of things I'd like to do. One is to make sure that he doesn't get invited to speak to the General Assembly, given his history and where he is. He just shouldn't be there addressing the United Nations. He uses that for propaganda and he shouldn't be invited. And I'm disappointed in the Secretary General that he'd invite him to be there. We have an agreement, a treaty, a contract we've entered into with the United Nations saying we will not prevent people from addressing the United Nations and so we must, if we're going to follow our own contracts, our own laws, we must allow him into the country. But we certainly don't have to give him a two-day visa to go touring New York and go speaking at Columbia or certainly to visit Ground Zero, what an audacious and shocking and outrageous request."

Bennett: "This is a parallel, I remember when Khatami came to Boston, came to Harvard, you said no police escort, right? You weren't going to give him any special consideration."

Governor Romney: "Yeah, exactly right. I was amazed that Harvard would say, 'Yeah come talk to us.' It's really disappointing when our academic institutions can't draw a line between people who bring legitimate differences in perspective versus those who are completely out of touch with reality, delusional who come for purposes of propaganda and outrage. And Khatami was one of those, obviously Ahmadinejad's predecessor, and he came to speak at Harvard and I was asked if we would provide State Police escorts and the answer was no. We don't want him there and we're not going to give him any of the dignity associated with a normal visit from a former head of state."

Bennett: "I remember – arguably Khatami is more moderate than Ahmadinejad."

Governor Romney: "That's the amazing thing. Ahmadinejad has gone completely over the line of lunacy and, as a result, it's really unthinkable that the United Nations or an organization like Columbia University would say, 'Come on in, we want to hear what you have to say.'"

To listen to Governor Romney on "Bill Bennett's Morning In America," please see:

Mitt Romney, Romney Campaign Press Release - In Case You Missed It: Governor Romney On Ahmadinejad At The U.N. And Columbia University Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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