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Mitt Romney: I'd love to convince people I'm Latino, 'particularly in a Florida primary'

Mitt Romney fielded questions from Univision anchor Jorge Ramos at the Spanish-language network's "Meet The Candidates" forum at Miami-Dade College. Later he took a handful of questions from the audience. Total time was about 22 minutes:
 
Q: "You only paid 13 percent of taxes while most Americans paid much more than that. Is that fair?"

Romney said the average is almost 15 percent. "Also on top of that, I gave another 15 percent to charity. When you add it together....I think it reaches almost 40 percent I gave back to the community....I have a proposal for those in middle income. Anyone earning under $200,000 a year, I would propose paying no tax whatsoever on their savings. I think the people have been most hurt in the Obama economy should be able to save money tax-free."

Q: "How much money do you have?"

Romney: "I think the estimate is a pretty wide range. It's been widely reported. My net worth is within that number. It is between $150 and about $200 some odd million dollars. I didn't inherit that. I inherited no money. What my wife and I have, we earned. And we earned it by helping start businesses and being successful in the businesses that we ran."

Q: "Newt Gingrich called you anti-immigrant. This morning he told me that you have shown no humanity for the people that are here (illegal). He called your self-deportation plan a fantasy. Now, how are you going to convince millions of illegal immigrants to go back to poverty and violence?"

Romney: "Very sad for a candidate to resort to that kind of epithet. We don’t attack each other with those kinds of terrible terms. I am not anti-immigrant. I am pro-immigrant. I like immigration. Immigration has been an extraordinary source of strength in this country. Romney said that Gingrich has said previously that he was in favor of self-deportation.

"I recognize that it is very tempting to come into an audience like this and to pander to the audience and to say what you will hope people will want to hear. But, frankly, I think that's unbecoming of a presidential candidate, and I think that was a mistake on his part.

Q: How is that going to work?

Romney:  "You have identification for those people who come here legally, which allows them to work in the United States. Then you have in place an effective E-verify system that allows employes to check that documentation immediately. And you severely santion employers who hire people who do not have legal documentation and who do not have authorization to work here.

"I'm not in favor of going around the country trying to round people up, put them in buses and take them across the border."

Romney: "I look at really three groups that I care really deeply about. One of those is the families that have come here illegally. Their children, in particular, no fault by having been brought here. That's one group I'm concerned about. There's another group which are people who come here through coyotes or others and are abused. And there's another group, the 4 to 5 million people who are in line legally to come here. Our responsibility i blieve as a nation is first and foremost to those who want to come here legally. My compassion extends to all three. I really want to protect legal immigration. I think it's important for people to realize that illegal immigration has to stop or there will be an effort to stop legal immigration, or to slow it down or hold it down, which is a mistake. I want more, not less, legal immigration."

Q: "Your father was born in Mexico. Are you a Mexican-American? Could you be the first Hispanic president?

Romney:   "I would love to be able to convince people of that, particularly in a Florida primary" (laughing). But I think that might be disingenuous on my part.....He [George Romney] was born of U.S. citizens who were living in Mexico at the time. He never spoke Spanish, nor did his parents. So I can't claim that honor.... I don't think people would think I was being honest with them if I said I was Mexican-American.

Q: "Would you consider Newt Gingrich as your running mate?"

Romney: "At this stage, if he were the V.P. and I were the president, why that's something I would consider. But I have to be honest with you. I haven't made any considerations as to who would be my V.P. at this point. I think it would be presumptuous. I've got to become the nominee first. And then I have to defeat President Obama. And then I get the privilege of having a vice president. So I've got a ways to go before I get to that point."

Q: Do you think Puerto Rico should become the 51st state?

Romney: "Should be left up to the people of Puerto Rico."

---- Clark Spencer

Comments

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Terry Mitchell

note to Mitten: Yo dude do you have a clue as to how many haters are out there...you need to get a life as we know it...

Clint

How does 15% + 15% equal "nearly" 40%? As, for Romney's plan to not tax savings work? Since most savings accounts don't pay much in interest, there wouldn't be much to tax. I think they pay something like 1%, so if you have a savings account with $1000, you'd get $10 in interest. Maybe Mitt has a savings account with $100,000. This guy is out of touch with the average person.

will

What? No taxes on my savings? How much would that save me? $15 bucks for the year... this guy is out of touch with regular working class people

Dave Longdale

Like we still have democracy after the coup. This next election is shaping up to be as big of a sham as the last. Do you know why Sarah Palin's bus tour was really canceled? Do you know why she stayed 30 miles away from the second debate and chose the death of Steve Jobs to announce that she's not running? Know what leaked out? Sarah Palin and Cain aren't in the race for the same reason, the truth leaked out.
http://PalinsDirtyLittleSecret.blogspot.com

will

I want this guys tax rates and loop holes and swiss bank account so I pay 10-15% like this fat cat.....He says he gave to his church, but what has He done for the community?..... Basically I got mine, so F you working folk..work a little harder and you pay less taxes like me

Buddesatva

Seriously, is this guy getting dumber by the day?

Loveyou_mom

We don't want a guy who is a regular joe running America. We need someone with that kind of success running America, so us regular joe's have jobs.

Smart As A Catchers Mitt

Poor guy is living in a fantasy...and he can't add

Graham

Mitt strikes me as an honest guy who nobody believes is telling the truth, how ironic

debi

romney is by far the most qualified, experienced & intelligent of the candidates-he'll definitely be the nominee & the sooner we all get behind him the better!

Jay

i find it sad that many of you people can't see the goodness in a great man. He doesn't have to run for President, he wants to be President because he loves our country. Just see through your negativity. All people are not out to take or mess with you. Obummer hasn't done a thing. Are you better off than 3 years ago? Do your kids who have graduated from college have jobs?

Justino

And what makes you think all of you people that the other candidates are in touch with average people ? None of the candidates ride on a bus everyday.....the 4 are equal, millions more, millions less, no make a difference. Now, do you think that someone who is coming from a very poor background will be able to rule a huge country, to deal with other rulers of other countries, to deal with CEO's of companies ??....You need someone who can talk face to face with them with knowledge.......I am mexican by the way, and I agree with Romney's immigration policy.

James

So he only paid 15% in tax. This is because the tax rate on long term capital gains is 15%. This was put in effect in 2010, a year after Obama came into office. Seems to me like getting mad at Romney for only paying the taxes that the government says he has to pay is silly (unless you of course like to pay more taxes than you are required to pay). Maybe we should be mad at the government that set the tax rates so that the middle-class pays more than people like Romney. I'd like to pay 15% and have Romney pay 35% but this isn't going to happen unless we demand the change from those "in" office not those running for it.

Bob

For the idiots out there complaining about 15%, remember that is for capital gains. By definition, that is a tax on money where ordinary income tax was already paid. So you pay 35% on the money the first time you see it, then you pay another 15% on top of that for taking the risk of investing what's left.

Vanessa

Seriously, the grammatical errors & typos in this post are painful.

Klatu

"Romney said the average is almost 15 percent. "Also on top of that, I gave another 15 percent to charity. When you add it together....I think it reaches almost 40 percent"

That equals 28 percent Mr. Romney. Not "nearly 40%". The average middle class tax rate is 35%. You are using off shore tax shelters, which should be considered tax evasion. Our entire body of representatives are made up of millionaires and multi-millionaires. No wonder they are out of touch with lower-middle income America.

Anthony Camilo

A very irresponsible, out of context and unethical headline. His response is the opposite of what the headline implies.

Shame on you Mr. Spencer.

PS: I am a liberal and would not vote for Mitt or any other republican in this election. However, it is "journalists" like you who are dividing and thus destroying our country.

Clyde

Ron Paul is the only guy not walking around with a hammer. Every Problem Romney faces will be treated like a Nail. Newt wants to bomb Cuba, forget just sanctions we need to bomb those Relatives to freedom.. Iran? bomb them too..Turkey? bomb them too..wait that was perry.. Santorum totally forgets about 1953 and 25 years of proxy occupation under the shah and says Iran started hostilies in 1979..

Susan73

Mitt knows how to add....don't be so literal people. If he said it was about 40%...it was.

D Lundgreen

Gov Romney already paid taxes on his income the first time that he made it 35% to 45%. then pays another 15% now. Under Gingrichs plan he would have 0 tax liabilty. Now he invests so that people can have jobs and you hipacrits have a problem with that. He is the only one that can turn this Country arround so that we are not going down the same path as greece and the UK. Wake-up Florida.

Frustrated independent

Let him pile up his money in Swiss accounts and prosper his Mormon church which he calles a "community". I just don't want him to be my president. Why does he want it. He's got everything the person may want in this world, yet his huge ego tells him More More and More...

ellacc

Taxes on capital gains is 15% for everyone. Paychecks are taxed at a higher rate and so was Romney's paycheck when he had one. There are no tax loopholes being exploited. Romney has proposed that those earning under $200,000 a year pay zero capital gains. He really does want to reduce the tax burdens on those who work.

amos velez

you too can pay 15% on your taxes.. Figure out a way to become a millionaire, and stop complaining that the people that have figured it out, won't give you a hand out.. Why should it cost someone more money to live, only because they make more money? how is that fair? would you like it if someone ordered the same pizza as you, but you have to pay more for it because you make more money??

nvr

Why doesn't Mitt Romney want to say that he is Mexican-American. He was born in Mexico.

If a woman who is a Mexican citizen gave birth to her baby in America,(whether she is here legally or illegally),the child is still recognized as an American citizen. In other words the child is Mexican-American.

What gives Mitt?

Aili McKeen

Mitt was a good Governor of Massachusetts. It is a shame that he felt he had to present himself in a different light, as capitalizing on being a businessman has not done him justice, and made him look phoney. At least he's not a hypocritical pig like Gingrich. I wouldn't begrudge Newt's affairs if he hadn't been such an outspoken jerk about Clinton's, and others. Newt did a lot of shady things in Congress, and he is completely unfit to be in ANY leadership position.

Rosanne Dietz

So how is it Mitt Romney's fault that he only pays 15% in taxes? It is what the tax law is at this time. The reason for this tax rate is that for one corporations pay about 1/3 in taxes on profits before it goes to the investor. Second, investment income helps create jobs so it was designed to encourage investment income. If people think it should be changed then that is a discussion that should take place by those who are elected to serve us. By the way, Newt thinks it should be zero taxes for investment income so under Newt's plan Romney would not pay any taxes on his investment income. Don't you think it is hypocritical for Newt to make such a big deal that Romney pays 15% when he thinks in his economic plan it should be 0%? I think our country needs someone who knows how to make businesses successful to help out our economy. Romney can be trusted to do this. Newt can't be trusted by either those who know him personally or those who served with him politically back in the days when he was Speaker of the House.

Frustrated independent

Mitt is a good Mormon, but I don't see from what he said how he "gave back to the community". He did give back to LDS, all right.

ignacious

The media thinks most people are dumb. They say Mitt only pays 15% tax rate but what they don’t explain is that it’s on interest income. Once he earned that income and paid the regular tax rate that for millionaires its about 38% then he reinvest that money and the tax rate on investments is the 15%, so it’s actually closer to 53% Plus millions to charity. Look up the Mormon church charity work and your jaw would drop on how efficient and massive they are. Men like this don’t run for president because it’s too heat much and they don’t need to. He is the most qualified candidate and he is running cause he cares. What has happed to our country that people are so envious of wealth?

Postino

You should be mad at Washington for creating the tax laws and allowing loopholes (not Romney for using them wisely).

And you should be mad at yourselves for not using your brains and strong work ethic to become rich rather than attack the American dream. You'd trade places with the man in five seconds if you could.

Lastly, the guy served as governor of MA for $1, and fixed the bankrupt Olympics for $1. Give credit where credit is due and quit attacking free-market capitalism, or we're going to end up with socialism or communism.

The media attacks Romney for his success and you poor saps eat it up, that's why the media keeps feeding it to you, and you keep watching their channels, and they keep getting sponsors, and that keeps making guys like Romney rich. It's you poor, ignorant fools.

drov

Pretty silly comments. Has anyone even questioned where Gingrich. Earned $3mil working as a public servant and historian. For those unfamiliar with paying taxes, you can donate money to a church, school, charity etc and the money donated counts toward your taxes. So you are getting to choose where your taxes are going to a point.

ellacc

Frustrated Independent,
1.Romney pays the required US tax rates no matter where the money is located. Also, see D Lundgreen comment above.
2. the LDS Church provides for the needs of people worldwide regardless of their religion.
3. Romney wants to serve our country and put his skills to work for us.
4. I knew Mitt from my Boston years. He doesn't have a huge ego. Nope. Not at all.

Frustrated independent

Mitt does not want to alknoweledge that He father is Mexica since he was born in Mexico because GOP contest Obama's right to be a President based that one of his parents was not a U.S. citizen.

Jose Mora

Hey, Mitt,

Why don't you REALLY prove it and self-deport yourself to Mexico?

RON PAUL 2012

ENOUGH WITH THE PHONIES!

Nelly

How Mitt Romney listens attentively when somebody is talking on the debate really amazes me. When he shakes hands he looks straight on the eyes. He can be combative and yet very courteous. He will be an ideal president because he always endevoured to be successful. He is my idol.

CT Echo

watch this Miami..


http://www.kingofbain.com/

Frustrated independent

Well said, Jose. SELF-DEPORTATION for MITT!!!

Frustrated independent

Nelly, you should marry him.

D

Giving 15% to charity creates a Schedule A deduction against other taxable income. The reality is Romney paid less than 15% toward his taxable income because his charitable donations decreased his earned income tax rate. His charitable donations have been almost exclusively related to Mormonism. As he vowed when he went through the Mormon temple for the first time at aged 19, before his French mission, allegiance to Mormonism comes before ANYTHING else--under penalty of death. (That vow has since been altered in the temple ceremony but still holds true for Romney).

Matt

Most of you silly people are either ignorant or just don't understand so many of the facts here. You're just looking for any excuse to attack Romney, like "OMG 15% + 15% IS NOT 40%." Until you've seen ALL the numbers, you should keep your pie hole shut. If you had $200 million and invested it and it paid you $20 million a year in dividends, would you go work for a paycheck? The even bigger question would be, would you give at least 30% to charitable causes? Face it people, Romney is better suited to run this country than anyone else who's trying to because he actually has proven that he knows how to be successful. Everyone else just has friends and rhetoric to get elected or re-elected.

Dawna

Romney paid taxes on all that money as it was being EARNED (income taxes). Now he's paying more taxes (capital gains taxes - the government's 2nd bite at the apple) on it as it is being invested for him by a Blind Trust. The legal amount. I hope we can all achieve such success. And I'm happy for those who through hardwork can.

CT Echo

do you want this man as president?

http://www.kingofbain.com/

Frustrated independent

@D:

S-t, can we have a non- religilous brainwashed president? Oh, I forgot, we have already one now!

Postino

Ron Paul 2012? What?

The guy himself said he couldn't picture him as president. He is for educating America, not leading America. He hasn't led a single thing in his entire life besides a small family.

He delivered babies and passed practically nothing the entire time he has been a representative. Teachers are not leaders, as Gingrich found out when he tried to run the House and got kicked out by his own party. He needs to stick to being a historian, and Paul needs to stick to being a revolutionary educator for America.

Leave the leading to the turn-around artist of the Olympics, MA and large businesses or America will continue to fall economically.

CT Echo

The truth about Mitt Romney.

http://www.kingofbain.com/

BrentW

You who were ridiculing the tax-free savings - are you sure Romney didn't mean *all* of the saved money would be tax-free, not just the interest ? I'd go for that in a heartbeat. Some people will look for any reason to pick and ridicule, as if they are smarter than a guy with a double degree from Harvard ? Give me a break, smart guys.

Postino

King of Bain uses only two people that were there when Romney was actually CEO. It is like fairenheit 9/11 and all the other BS conspiracy videos that will use false info to mislead non-thinkers.

CT Echo

Read this and see if you think King of Bain is a conspiracy..

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/KB_Toys

I'm a firm believer in the American free enterprise system ,but this is wrong and amounts to being a corporate raider.

Kevin

There are some really ignorant comments here. Mitt only paid what he was required to pay in taxes. If you were as rich as he was, you would do the same. The criticism should be on the government for giving favorable treatment for capital gains.

The Mormon church is one of the most charitable churches on the planet. The difference is they don't go around touting what they are doing. The Church gives silently to non-Mormons and Mormons alike without any need for recognition, as Jesus taught. Do some research and you will find this out for yourself. So, yes, by giving to the Church, Mitt was being charitable.

Ray

To all anti-Mitt,

Wake up people there is evil in your heart.Taxes is not the issue here it is the corrupted leaders in washington.I would rather vote for Romney than Obama again.

RayReyes

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