WASHINGTON, March 5 – GOP candidate Mitt Romney has been criss-crossing the country, trying to capture more delegates and build support for his presidential bid just prior to the crucial Super Tuesday primaries. On Tuesday, March 6, 2012, 410 delegates will be up for grabs and some of them represent a significant amount of farm and rural voters: Georgia (76), Idaho (32), Massachusetts (41), North Dakota (28), Ohio (66), Oklahoma (43), Tennessee (58), Vermont (17), and Virginia (49), along with Alaska's two-week-long caucuses, Mar. 6-24.


While in Fargo, North Dakota for a campaign speech last week, Romney was interviewed by WDAY-TV reporter Kevin Wallevand. Romney stuck to themes that he has outlined in his previous run for the presidency: Food security, no unilateral disarmament, and open markets, but provides a bit more detail.


WDAY: The market, farm subsidies – right now farmers are doing well in our area, farm prices are up. What are your thoughts on that?


Mitt Romney: My view is that we’ve got a couple of principles that have to be applied as we look at our farm programs. One is that we’re competing with other nations around the world, and other nations, in many cases, have various subsidies, which they use to take advantage of market dynamics around the world. We don’t want to unilaterally change our policies in a way that would disadvantage agriculture here in our country, so we have to look at global policies to make sure we’re taking care of our interests globally. In addition, we want to make sure that we don’t ever find ourselves in a circumstance where we depend on foreign nations for our food the way we do with regards to energy. So, those elements have to be principles that we apply as we look at the industry. At the same time, I think everyone’s interest is to ultimately see subsidies go away and for industries to compete on a level playing field, but again, that takes understanding of what’s happening globally and an insistence that we don’t find ourselves at the beck-and-call of other nations.


Sugar, one of those dicey areas. Where do we go?


Same principles apply, I think, across the board – making sure that we’re competitive globally, we don’t put our own farmers at a disadvantage and that we have the capacity to maintain America’s productive resources.


You’ve heard so much about western North Dakota and the Bakken and the energy issues going on here. Are you impressed with how the state is dealing with that and handling that? The governor said: Should this be kind of a blueprint for the rest of the country on how to handle this?


The regulation of energy has generally been done at the state level, so the state here is dealing with fracking, and this has been done in states across the country for a long time. Now you have the federal government trying to insert itself into an area which has been regulated by the states pretty well in the past. I think this is an effort on the part of the Obama administration to try and make it harder to get oil and gas and to try and drive up the prices. That’s what their stated policy has been over some period of time. It’s the wrong way to go. The right way is to get lands and permits out to drillers and to make sure we get the energy we need for the country. It’s good for North Dakota, it’s good for the entire country, and my policy is: Let’s take advantage of the resources we have as opposed to trying to hold off on developing our oil, our gas, our coal and other resources.


For the full transcript published in the InForum: http://www.inforum.com/event/article/id/352765/




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