And he believes that this country is the only hope for freedom in this world.
… What does that mean?
Because there are other countries that have freedom, but without the strongest country in the world supporting freedom, other philosophies could take over. The philosophy of Russia trying to use its natural resources to become a superpower again, they don’t have freedom. China trying to use some of our free-enterprise system, but they don’t have freedom. You don’t have freedom of education, freedom of where you’re going to live, what job you’re going to have, or let alone religion.
And then you have the radical Islamists that want to destroy everything in the West at every opportunity in democracy, at any event. And Western Europe and other places that have some freedom, they don’t have the ability to sustain it on their own anymore. They could be subsumed by the other philosophies in this world.
The United States is the place that has the opportunity to defend freedom around the world and to give people great opportunity. This country has lifted more people out of poverty than any country in the history of mankind, and Mitt believes we can do a better job at it. …
A friend of mine, Rich Schwarm and I — Rich is a former political Republican party chair in Iowa — we flew out and met with [senior Romney adviser] Beth Myers and a number of the key people and discussed the campaign.
I remember the initial discussion of the campaign, the strategy of the campaign. They were very interested in what the caucuses were about. They really couldn’t quite figure them out, and they also wanted to know how he should be positioned if he wanted to have a chance of winning the caucuses.
I remember that I had read some material on him previously, particularly something I think Mike Murphy had written, talking about how he adopted a position on abortion, one when he became governor, and then two now that he was running for president. And I was concerned about that.
They had received advice that he needed to dive right if he wanted to have a chance in Iowa, particularly on social issues. And I remember at the first meeting, I indicated to him that I thought that was a mistake, that he had to be whoever he was. If you’re trying to dive one way or another, you’re going to lose your authenticity and not be successful. …
Douglas Gross Iowa chairman, Romney 2008
After that discussion, then we went to dinner with both the governor and his wife, Ann, at the top of the Ritz-Carlton, overlooking the Boston Common. I suspect they thought that this country boy from Iowa would have stars in his eyes associated with that kind of a setting.
I’ve dealt with people who have been running for president. That’s one of the opportunities you have in Iowa is you have an opportunity to deal with people who would like to be president, and you don’t have stars in your eyes. You see the world very clearly. And you feel that one of our jobs as Iowans is sort of do the job interview and see what these folks are made of, and if they have the capabilities to be a successful president.
What I had read about him, and the information I had learned about him, I was impressed with him from the standpoint that I thought he understood big issues. I thought the country was facing big problems, and this is a guy who could tackle those. He had both the intellectual capacity, the organizational capacity to do that.
But there were some things that still bothered me, and I wanted to talk to him about those things that might bother me. They were the three M’s. …