In Tuesday's debate, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney once again made clear that he thinks cutting defense spending is a bad idea, even at a time when he supports reducing the size of government. The former Massachusetts governor was answering a question about the debt deal supercommittee. "[I]f in fact [the supercommittee] can't find an agreement, you're going to have a trigger with automatic cuts, including defense," moderator Charlie Rose said. So would Romney support compromising?
"The answer is to cut federal spending," Romney replied. "The answer is to cap how much the federal government can spend as a percentage of our economy and have a balanced budget amendment. And the second part of the answer is to get our economy to grow, because the idea of just cutting and cutting and taxing more -- I understand mathematically those things work, but nothing works as well as getting the economy going."
Karen Tumulty, another debate moderator, chimed in. "But could we get back to the actual choice that is likely to confront Congress at the end of the year, which is some mix of revenues and cuts or these draconian automatic spending cuts that would include defense. Which of those two, if that is the choice, would you prefer?"
"Well, my choice is not to cut defense," Romney asserted. "I think it's a terrible idea to cut defense. I think it's a terrible idea to raise taxes. Particularly at a time when the economy's struggling, the idea of raising taxes, taking more money away from the American people, so government can spend it..."
The debate, sponsored by the Washington Post and Bloomberg, focused mainly on the economy and fiscal issues.