If Mitt Romney were President…

Mitt Romney is running for President in 2012. Of course, that means in every interview between today and sometime in 2011, he has to tell people that he isn’t even thinking about running for President in 2012. You’ll usually get a mash-up of crossing bridges when you get to them, not knowing what the future will bring, and only being focus on this year’s upcoming election. You and I both know it’s bullshit.

While Romney pretends not to be running for President, he continues raising more money than anyone else, giving that money to more candidates to anyone else, and campaigning for more candidates then…wait for it…anyone else. Then there are also the speeches, the TV interviews, and the book he has coming out early next year.

But what if Mitt Romney were president now? Even those of us with buyer’s remorse from the primaries don’t think any Republican was going to win, but when you look at everything Dear Leader is doing, it’s easy to wonder how someone else would be doing a better job. JBdotC Chief Political Correspondent Byron York sat down with the former Governor to ask how a Mitt Romney presidency would be different…

Romney is also working on a book, “No Apology: The Case for American Greatness,” which will be out next March. He makes clear that he’s writing every word himself. “I didn’t have a writer who interviewed me twice and is now writing the book,” he says. In addition, Romney appears on television to discuss issues of particular concern to him — the stimulus, the takeovers of the auto companies, health care.

Since he had hoped to be in the White House now, I ask what the first eight months of a Romney administration would have looked like, as opposed to what President Obama has done. “First of all, I would have followed through on his commitment to work on a bipartisan basis,” Romney says. Next, Romney says his stimulus proposal — he does believe we needed one — would have been “far more carefully crafted to create jobs immediately.” Romney would have put stimulus dollars into buying much-needed equipment for the U.S. military, as well as infrastructure projects, and he would also have made tax policy more business-friendly.

What else? “Cap and trade — I wouldn’t even touch that,” Romney says. “It’s the wrong course.” But he would have made health care a major part of his presidential agenda. “I like what we did in Massachusetts,” Romney says, referring to the universal coverage program he and the Democratic state legislature crafted in 2006. “I think it works in Massachusetts.” Pay close attention to that last part: Romney defends the system in his overwhelmingly Democratic home state, but he’s careful to say that as president, he would give all the states greater flexibility to come up with their own fixes, which might be different from what exists in Massachusetts. The ultimate goal, he says, is “getting government less involved in the health care market.”

“Not every feature of our plan was perfect, “but it does teach this important lesson: You can get everyone insured without breaking the bank and without a government option.” The plan’s costs, Romney says, have stayed within original projections.

Make sure to read the whole piece for a look at what Romney has been up to, plus analysis of what two of his biggest obstacles might be: evangelicals, and his age.

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