Romney: we’re not going to kill Big Bird, but PBS will run on advertising $$

Mitt Romney used a question from someone in Clinton, Iowa, early this afternoon — a question about Iran’s threat to block the Strait of Hormuz, the major route out for Persian Gulf oil — to pivot and send a subtle message about Ron Paul’s views about a nuclear-armed Iran.

“I’m not going to tell you precisely what military actions are going to be taken under each circumstance because obviously there are a lot of factors at play, but I can tell you this…it’s unacceptable in my view for Iran to have a nuclear weapon and for those that say, ‘Well, but the Soviet Union had a nuclear weapon.’ The difference is we had mutually assured destruction and the Soviets were not suicidal. The Mullahs and the Ayatollahs are suicidal and they talk about wiping out other people on the planet.  There’s no question in my mind of the risk that fissile material would find its way into the hands of Hamas or Hezbollah or other terrorists would be enhanced enormously if Iran has a nuclear weapon and so I will pursue understanding the options we could take to prevent Iran from becoming nuclear…diplomatic options, economic options as well as military options.

“…I know there are some that think we should shrink our military and who think it’s just too big. The world isn’t safer. The world has not become safer in the past few years. It’s a more dangerous world and I want to maintain a strong military that is so superior that no one else in the world wants to test it.”

The crowd applauded. Romney spoke to a huge crowd at Homer’s Deli in Clinton. A man who identified himself as a “moderate Republican” asked Romney about cutting federal spending.

Romney’s reply stressed the message that’s being broadcast in one of his campaign ads, about the immorality of deficit spending. “I will not just slow down the rate of growth,” Romney said. “I will reduce federal spending. I’ll cut $500 billion a year by the fourth year and I’ve laid out how to do it…Stop certain programs. Stop them. Close them. Turn ’em off, even some you like…My test is: is a program so critical that it’s worth borrowing money from China to pay for it?

“…I like PBS. We subsidize PBS. Look, I’m going to stop that. I’m going to say, ‘PBS is going to have to have advertisement.’ We’re not going to kill Big Bird, but Big Bird is going to have to have advertisements, all right?”

Some in the crowd laughed and a few applauded, but there was a much larger burst of applause when Romney vowed to get rid of “ObamaCare” on “day one” of a Romney presidency.

A few moments later, a man in the crowd praised Romney for signing legislation when he was governor of Massachusetts to raise the benefits for soldiers in the Massachusetts National Guard.  “I wish he’d been given a microphone so he could describe all that,” Romney said, laughing.  

“As a former recruiter, that’s a big deal. Thank you, governor,” the man said.

Romney closed after speaking & answering questions for about 24 minutes. “I thought when I was coming to a place called Clinton I might have some difficulty. At least you’re not called Obama,” Romney said, getting laughter from the crowd. 

Romney spent a good deal of time after his remarks shaking hands, signing autographs. One man told Romney: “You’ve got Gingrich on the ropes. I hate that guy. He’s a jerk.”  Romney didn’t respond and moved on to the next (potential) voter.

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About O.Kay Henderson

O. Kay Henderson is the news director of Radio Iowa.