Mitt Romney’s image as a flip-flopper who would say anything to get elected is totally misleading according to Kerry Healey, the woman who once served as his lieutenant governor in Massachusetts and is now on his campaign staff as one of his staunchest supporters.
In fact, Romney is “the most principled person I’ve ever worked with,” Healey told Newsmax.TV in an exclusive interview.
“There were many, many times during the course of our administration when it would have been much more politically expedient to make a deal to allow someone, for example, to stay in office who was perhaps not as talented as the next person, but was more politically connected,” Healey said.
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“He would never do that. People need to understand that he is principled and bold and that really is how his direction is set.”
Healey was lieutenant governor throughout Romney’s term in the Statehouse in Boston, from 2003-2007. He chose her as his running mate even though she had never held elective office, although she had served as chairwoman of the Massachusetts Republican state committee.
She is now his foreign policy adviser in his bid to gain the GOP presidential nomination.
Healey said people should realize how Romney turned the Bay State around after he gained the governorship amid “an incredible economic downturn.”
“It was just after 9/11, the Internet bubble had burst and we were losing jobs at an incredible rate,” she pointed out.
“We had a $2-3 billion projected budget debt and Mitt Romney came in and within the first couple of months ripped that budget apart and put it back together. He did the same kind of tests he is talking about doing nationally, [asking] what are the core functions of government, what can we do without, what would it be nice to have but perhaps we are going to have to do away with, and what are we just doing wrong, what’s extra.
“When we left office, Gov. Romney left behind a $2 billion budget surplus, a rainy day fund. Given the economy, given everything that’s happening in America today, people really need to understand that he can seal the deal on the economy.”
She said one of his greatest assets is Ann, whose signature warmth counters Romney’s perceived aloofness. “She would be one of our greatest first ladies. She has been Mitt’s partner for over 40 years and she is his bedrock.”
“Ann is the most down-to-earth real person you will ever meet. When she looks at you, you know she is looking at you and everything that comes out of her mouth is what she is thinking.”
Healey accepted that Romney sometimes comes across as too polished. “He is quite handsome and organized-looking, but I have got to tell you that that that is just who he is. If you see pictures of him from his youth, of him and Ann together early on, he has always looked the same way.
And despite his enormous wealth, he is grounded by his experience as a missionary in France, which allows him to connect with the average man in the street, she added. “He doesn’t talk about that a lot but I can tell you that those experiences, being out there working with people in sometimes very difficult circumstances, give him the grounding and experience he needs to really be more compassionate as a president.”
She said Romney does not often speak of his Mormon faith, which he considers “a very private matter,” adding, “If people only understood how much he gives to charity, how much he personally does for other people in a charitable way, then they would view him differently, they’d view him as more human, more compassionate.
“But it is the essence of charity that you don’t want to do those things in public and you don’t want to advertise your good works. He is a good man, I wish people could just see that and take it as a given.”
On foreign policy, Healey said Romney is a strong supporter of Israel . She said everyone should be worried that Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei praised President Barack Obama for warning against “beating the drums of war.”
“We know that Iran has no good intentions toward us whatsoever,” she said. “The Obama policy right now to say maybe Iran is not developing nuclear weapons like we thought they were – like most of the world thinks that they are – has given the Iranians what they want most, which is more time to develop that weapons capability.
“It’s a huge mistake,” she added. “Gov. Romney has spoken out very strongly in support of Israel, very strongly against accepting this narrative that somehow Iran has suddenly decided not to pursue nuclear weapons.
“It just doesn’t seem credible.”
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