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Guests: Mitt Romney, Mitch Daniels

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The following is a rush transcript of the February 26, 2012 edition of "Fox News Sunday With Chris Wallace." This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

CHRIS WALLACE, HOST: I'm Chris Wallace.adsonar_placementId=1502157;adsonar_pid=150758;adsonar_ps=-1;adsonar_zw=198;adsonar_zh=170;adsonar_jv='ads.adsonar.com';

Two big states up for grabs Tuesday. It's the next big test to the Republican race for president.

Mitt Romney fights for his political life on his home turf of Michigan, as well as in Arizona. We'll hear from the candidate fighting to regain his status as the front runner. Mitt Romney, only on "Fox News Sunday."

Then, he's one of the country's leading governors with an unmatched fiscal record. So, how would the man from Indiana put people back to work? We'll ask Republican Governor Mitch Daniels.

Plus, will pain at the pump become pain at the polls for President Obama? We'll ask our Sunday panel how rising gas prices will affect the presidential race.

And our power player of the week offering adventure on the Internet.

All right now on "Fox News Sunday."

(MUSIC)

And hello again from Fox News in Washington.

On Tuesday, voters go to the polls in Michigan and Arizona for what may be the most important primary day so far.

Joining us now from Flint, Michigan, is Governor Mitt Romney, who's got a lot riding on both contest. And, Governor, welcome back to "Fox News Sunday."

MITT ROMNEY, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thanks, Chris. Good to be with you again.

WALLACE: Before we get in to politics, I want to ask you about the latest crisis in Afghanistan. As you know, U.S. and NATO forces are being pulled out of all of the Afghan ministries there because two top U.S. military advisers were killed as part of the continuing furor over the burning of the Korans.

The question I have is what does that say to you -- pulling our forces out of the ministries, what does that say to you 10 years after the war began and the nature of our alliance with the Afghans?

ROMNEY: Well, it's an extraordinary admission of failure for us to establish the relationships that you'd have to have for a successful transition to the Afghan military and Afghan security leadership. I hope that we're going to see some improvement very soon. But it's obviously very dangerous there and the transition effort is not going as well as we'd like to see it go. But certainly, the effort there is an important one, and we want to see the Afghan security troops finally able to secure their own country and bring our troops home when that job is done.

WALLACE: Do you still oppose President Obama's decision to start pulling out U.S. troops from Afghanistan this year? And what do you think of his earlier apology this week to the Afghans for the burning of the Koran?

ROMNEY: Well, first of all, with regards to the apology, I think for a lot people, this is it sticks in their throat, the idea that we are there, having lost thousands of individuals through casualty and death. We've made an enormous contribution to help the people their achieved freedom and for us to be apologizing at a time like this is something which is very difficult for the American people to countenance.

At the same time, you know, I'm very concerned about the pathway forward. I think the president made an enormous error by announcing the withdrawal date of our surge forces during the fighting season. This is the time they are supposed to come out. He should have waited for at least three months until things quieted down.

And secondly, the announcement is win to the combat forces are going to be withdrawn and combat operations were over. It's one thing to make those plans internally. It's another thing to announce them to Taliban and to Afghanistan and to the Afghanis.

And finally, to announce a specific withdrawal date before you have the input from those who are on the field I think is another mistake.

This president has made it more for the fighting men and women to be successful in our mission in Afghanistan.

WALLACE: But just to make it clear, Governor, you're saying then that despite the killing and in some cases inside job killing of American soldiers, you would continue your commitment to winning the war in Afghanistan?

ROMNEY: Well, what we want to do is to transition Afghanistan such that its own military and its own security forces can maintain the sovereignty of their government from an attack for the Taliban. We don't want to see Afghanistan once again return to a Taliban- dominated nation with al Qaeda and other training camps coming into the nation.

We're -- that is a mission which is continuing, and based upon what we are seeing so far, we haven't been as successful as we could have been. And I think one of the reasons for that is the president didn't insure the elections were fair and open, with credible being selected. The president also announced the withdrawal date, a time certain which I think made it very clear to the Taliban they just had to wait us out.

I think the president has made some enormous errors in the conduct of our mission there.

WALLACE: Four years ago, you won Michigan by nine points over John McCain. But in the latest "Real Clear Politics" average of polls there, you are barely -- barely beating Rick Santorum.

Why are you having such a tough time locking up your home state against Rick Santorum?

ROMNEY: Well, I'm proud of the fact that I was born and raised in Michigan. And, you know, last time when I ran here against Senator McCain, I think started off eight points behind in the polls, with two weeks ago and was able to fight very hard, earned every vote, and ended up winning, as you point out.

About 10 days ago, I think Rasmussen had me down 15 points in Michigan. Now, it's tied or slightly ahead. I think I can show that I can fight real hard and come from behind. And I think the people, as they focus on my campaign and my candidacy and my plan to get America working, a plan that calls for dramatic changes in the way Washington is structured -- those are things that I think people are warming to and making progress.

WALLACE: Well, you say you're making progress. You don't have much time. The vote is Tuesday.

Flat question, are you going to win Michigan? And secondly, even if you do, isn't this nomination battle going to go on at least until May?

ROMNEY: Well, I'm planning on winning here in Michigan and also in Arizona. Obviously, that will be huge for us if we're able to do, particularly having come from so far behind here in Michigan. So, we are planning on winning. We're making -- obviously, the momentum is in the right direction. We've cut the lead down and now, we're tied, we're slightly ahead.

Some polls show us more ahead than slightly. We'll see what happens in the remaining days.

But how long the process goes on, I think it's hard to predict. But I'm convinced I'm going to become the nominee, and we'll be willing to take however long it takes to get that job done.

WALLACE: One problem that you have in Michigan is that you opposed the government bailout of Chrysler and General Motors. You say that the companies eventually through bankruptcy, which is what you advocated all along. But critics say there is a problem with that.

And let me point that out. With government money, the two companies, Chrysler and G.M. went through Chapter 11 reorganization, which was faster and easier. Without government money, they would have gone through Chapter 7 liquidation which the company say would have cost thousands of jobs and critics say one of the reasons they needed the government money is because private companies refused to give them money, including your old company Bain Capital.

ROMNEY: Well, actually, I know the Obama people are pushing that story very hard. But if we go back in history, the 2008, when the CEOs of these companies went to Washington asking for, what, $50 billion, I said, don't give them the money. Instead, have them go through a managed bankruptcy. And if need help after that bankruptcy, then the government can help with guarantees and guarantees on warranties and so forth.

So, the money and the support, that comes after they've gone through bankruptcy.  Print  Email  Share    Recommend Tweet

continued...

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February 26, 2012

Mitt Romney on defending home turf; Gov. Mitch Daniels talks presidential politics

February 19, 2012

Newt Gingrich on resurrecting his presidential campaign; Eric Cantor talks payroll tax holiday

February 12, 2012

Jack Lew defends compromise on birth control mandate; Sarah Palin rates GOP field

February 05, 2012

Make or break for Rick Santorum? ADVERTISEMENT Follow Fox News Sunday

Follow us on Twitter to get exclusive updates and announcements from the show!

Fox News Sunday is on Facebook! Coming Up on FNS: February 26, 2012

We’ll preview next Tuesday’s Michigan and Arizona primaries  when we speak Exclusively with Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney.

Then, we’ll talk with Governor Mitch Daniels, who delivered what many thought was a successful response to the president’s State of the Union, and ask him his thoughts on working with the federal government and the Republican presidential race.

ADVERTISEMENT Wallace Watch

February 26, 2012

Panel Plus: February 26, 2012

Watch the 'FOX News Sunday' panel, Bill Kristol, Evan Bayh, Ed Gillespie and Juan Williams, as they discuss the president's re-elect

Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels Says "No Sir"Romney Predicts Two Wins on TuesdayFebruary 26, 1919 Connect With FNS FacebookTwitterEmailFree PodcastBlogHulu On This Day

February 26, 2012

February 26, 1919

In Arizona, the Grand Canyon was established as a National Park with an act of the U.S. Congress

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The following is a rush transcript of the February 26, 2012 edition of "Fox News Sunday With Chris Wallace." This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

CHRIS WALLACE, HOST: I'm Chris Wallace.

Two big states up for grabs Tuesday. It's the next big test to the Republican race for president.

Mitt Romney fights for his political life on his home turf of Michigan, as well as in Arizona. We'll hear from the candidate fighting to regain his status as the front runner. Mitt Romney, only on "Fox News Sunday."

Then, he's one of the country's leading governors with an unmatched fiscal record. So, how would the man from Indiana put people back to work? We'll ask Republican Governor Mitch Daniels.

Plus, will pain at the pump become pain at the polls for President Obama? We'll ask our Sunday panel how rising gas prices will affect the presidential race.

And our power player of the week offering adventure on the Internet.

All right now on "Fox News Sunday."

(MUSIC)

And hello again from Fox News in Washington.

On Tuesday, voters go to the polls in Michigan and Arizona for what may be the most important primary day so far.

Joining us now from Flint, Michigan, is Governor Mitt Romney, who's got a lot riding on both contest. And, Governor, welcome back to "Fox News Sunday."

MITT ROMNEY, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thanks, Chris. Good to be with you again.

WALLACE: Before we get in to politics, I want to ask you about the latest crisis in Afghanistan. As you know, U.S. and NATO forces are being pulled out of all of the Afghan ministries there because two top U.S. military advisers were killed as part of the continuing furor over the burning of the Korans.

The question I have is what does that say to you -- pulling our forces out of the ministries, what does that say to you 10 years after the war began and the nature of our alliance with the Afghans?

ROMNEY: Well, it's an extraordinary admission of failure for us to establish the relationships that you'd have to have for a successful transition to the Afghan military and Afghan security leadership. I hope that we're going to see some improvement very soon. But it's obviously very dangerous there and the transition effort is not going as well as we'd like to see it go. But certainly, the effort there is an important one, and we want to see the Afghan security troops finally able to secure their own country and bring our troops home when that job is done.

WALLACE: Do you still oppose President Obama's decision to start pulling out U.S. troops from Afghanistan this year? And what do you think of his earlier apology this week to the Afghans for the burning of the Koran?

ROMNEY: Well, first of all, with regards to the apology, I think for a lot people, this is it sticks in their throat, the idea that we are there, having lost thousands of individuals through casualty and death. We've made an enormous contribution to help the people their achieved freedom and for us to be apologizing at a time like this is something which is very difficult for the American people to countenance.

At the same time, you know, I'm very concerned about the pathway forward. I think the president made an enormous error by announcing the withdrawal date of our surge forces during the fighting season. This is the time they are supposed to come out. He should have waited for at least three months until things quieted down.

And secondly, the announcement is win to the combat forces are going to be withdrawn and combat operations were over. It's one thing to make those plans internally. It's another thing to announce them to Taliban and to Afghanistan and to the Afghanis.

And finally, to announce a specific withdrawal date before you have the input from those who are on the field I think is another mistake.

This president has made it more for the fighting men and women to be successful in our mission in Afghanistan.

WALLACE: But just to make it clear, Governor, you're saying then that despite the killing and in some cases inside job killing of American soldiers, you would continue your commitment to winning the war in Afghanistan?

ROMNEY: Well, what we want to do is to transition Afghanistan such that its own military and its own security forces can maintain the sovereignty of their government from an attack for the Taliban. We don't want to see Afghanistan once again return to a Taliban- dominated nation with al Qaeda and other training camps coming into the nation.

We're -- that is a mission which is continuing, and based upon what we are seeing so far, we haven't been as successful as we could have been. And I think one of the reasons for that is the president didn't insure the elections were fair and open, with credible being selected. The president also announced the withdrawal date, a time certain which I think made it very clear to the Taliban they just had to wait us out.

I think the president has made some enormous errors in the conduct of our mission there.

WALLACE: Four years ago, you won Michigan by nine points over John McCain. But in the latest "Real Clear Politics" average of polls there, you are barely -- barely beating Rick Santorum.

Why are you having such a tough time locking up your home state against Rick Santorum?

ROMNEY: Well, I'm proud of the fact that I was born and raised in Michigan. And, you know, last time when I ran here against Senator McCain, I think started off eight points behind in the polls, with two weeks ago and was able to fight very hard, earned every vote, and ended up winning, as you point out.

About 10 days ago, I think Rasmussen had me down 15 points in Michigan. Now, it's tied or slightly ahead. I think I can show that I can fight real hard and come from behind. And I think the people, as they focus on my campaign and my candidacy and my plan to get America working, a plan that calls for dramatic changes in the way Washington is structured -- those are things that I think people are warming to and making progress.

WALLACE: Well, you say you're making progress. You don't have much time. The vote is Tuesday.

Flat question, are you going to win Michigan? And secondly, even if you do, isn't this nomination battle going to go on at least until May?

ROMNEY: Well, I'm planning on winning here in Michigan and also in Arizona. Obviously, that will be huge for us if we're able to do, particularly having come from so far behind here in Michigan. So, we are planning on winning. We're making -- obviously, the momentum is in the right direction. We've cut the lead down and now, we're tied, we're slightly ahead.

Some polls show us more ahead than slightly. We'll see what happens in the remaining days.

But how long the process goes on, I think it's hard to predict. But I'm convinced I'm going to become the nominee, and we'll be willing to take however long it takes to get that job done.

WALLACE: One problem that you have in Michigan is that you opposed the government bailout of Chrysler and General Motors. You say that the companies eventually through bankruptcy, which is what you advocated all along. But critics say there is a problem with that.

And let me point that out. With government money, the two companies, Chrysler and G.M. went through Chapter 11 reorganization, which was faster and easier. Without government money, they would have gone through Chapter 7 liquidation which the company say would have cost thousands of jobs and critics say one of the reasons they needed the government money is because private companies refused to give them money, including your old company Bain Capital.

ROMNEY: Well, actually, I know the Obama people are pushing that story very hard. But if we go back in history, the 2008, when the CEOs of these companies went to Washington asking for, what, $50 billion, I said, don't give them the money. Instead, have them go through a managed bankruptcy. And if need help after that bankruptcy, then the government can help with guarantees and guarantees on warranties and so forth.

So, the money and the support, that comes after they've gone through bankruptcy.  Print  Email  Share    Recommend Tweet

continued...

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February 26, 2012

Mitt Romney on defending home turf; Gov. Mitch Daniels talks presidential politics

February 19, 2012

Newt Gingrich on resurrecting his presidential campaign; Eric Cantor talks payroll tax holiday

February 12, 2012

Jack Lew defends compromise on birth control mandate; Sarah Palin rates GOP field

February 05, 2012

Make or break for Rick Santorum? ADVERTISEMENT Follow Fox News Sunday

Follow us on Twitter to get exclusive updates and announcements from the show!

Fox News Sunday is on Facebook! Coming Up on FNS: February 26, 2012

We’ll preview next Tuesday’s Michigan and Arizona primaries  when we speak Exclusively with Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney.

Then, we’ll talk with Governor Mitch Daniels, who delivered what many thought was a successful response to the president’s State of the Union, and ask him his thoughts on working with the federal government and the Republican presidential race.

ADVERTISEMENT Wallace Watch

February 26, 2012

Panel Plus: February 26, 2012

Watch the 'FOX News Sunday' panel, Bill Kristol, Evan Bayh, Ed Gillespie and Juan Williams, as they discuss the president's re-elect

Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels Says "No Sir"Romney Predicts Two Wins on TuesdayFebruary 26, 1919 Connect With FNS FacebookTwitterEmailFree PodcastBlogHulu On This Day

February 26, 2012

February 26, 1919

In Arizona, the Grand Canyon was established as a National Park with an act of the U.S. Congress

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Two big states up for grabs Tuesday. It's the next big test to the Republican race for president.

Mitt Romney fights for his political life on his home turf of Michigan, as well as in Arizona. We'll hear from the candidate fighting to regain his status as the front runner. Mitt Romney, only on "Fox News Sunday."

Then, he's one of the country's leading governors with an unmatched fiscal record. So, how would the man from Indiana put people back to work? We'll ask Republican Governor Mitch Daniels.

Plus, will pain at the pump become pain at the polls for President Obama? We'll ask our Sunday panel how rising gas prices will affect the presidential race.

And our power player of the week offering adventure on the Internet.

All right now on "Fox News Sunday."

(MUSIC)

And hello again from Fox News in Washington.

On Tuesday, voters go to the polls in Michigan and Arizona for what may be the most important primary day so far.

Joining us now from Flint, Michigan, is Governor Mitt Romney, who's got a lot riding on both contest. And, Governor, welcome back to "Fox News Sunday."

MITT ROMNEY, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thanks, Chris. Good to be with you again.

WALLACE: Before we get in to politics, I want to ask you about the latest crisis in Afghanistan. As you know, U.S. and NATO forces are being pulled out of all of the Afghan ministries there because two top U.S. military advisers were killed as part of the continuing furor over the burning of the Korans.

The question I have is what does that say to you -- pulling our forces out of the ministries, what does that say to you 10 years after the war began and the nature of our alliance with the Afghans?

ROMNEY: Well, it's an extraordinary admission of failure for us to establish the relationships that you'd have to have for a successful transition to the Afghan military and Afghan security leadership. I hope that we're going to see some improvement very soon. But it's obviously very dangerous there and the transition effort is not going as well as we'd like to see it go. But certainly, the effort there is an important one, and we want to see the Afghan security troops finally able to secure their own country and bring our troops home when that job is done.

WALLACE: Do you still oppose President Obama's decision to start pulling out U.S. troops from Afghanistan this year? And what do you think of his earlier apology this week to the Afghans for the burning of the Koran?

ROMNEY: Well, first of all, with regards to the apology, I think for a lot people, this is it sticks in their throat, the idea that we are there, having lost thousands of individuals through casualty and death. We've made an enormous contribution to help the people their achieved freedom and for us to be apologizing at a time like this is something which is very difficult for the American people to countenance.

At the same time, you know, I'm very concerned about the pathway forward. I think the president made an enormous error by announcing the withdrawal date of our surge forces during the fighting season. This is the time they are supposed to come out. He should have waited for at least three months until things quieted down.

And secondly, the announcement is win to the combat forces are going to be withdrawn and combat operations were over. It's one thing to make those plans internally. It's another thing to announce them to Taliban and to Afghanistan and to the Afghanis.

And finally, to announce a specific withdrawal date before you have the input from those who are on the field I think is another mistake.

This president has made it more for the fighting men and women to be successful in our mission in Afghanistan.

WALLACE: But just to make it clear, Governor, you're saying then that despite the killing and in some cases inside job killing of American soldiers, you would continue your commitment to winning the war in Afghanistan?

ROMNEY: Well, what we want to do is to transition Afghanistan such that its own military and its own security forces can maintain the sovereignty of their government from an attack for the Taliban. We don't want to see Afghanistan once again return to a Taliban- dominated nation with al Qaeda and other training camps coming into the nation.

We're -- that is a mission which is continuing, and based upon what we are seeing so far, we haven't been as successful as we could have been. And I think one of the reasons for that is the president didn't insure the elections were fair and open, with credible being selected. The president also announced the withdrawal date, a time certain which I think made it very clear to the Taliban they just had to wait us out.

I think the president has made some enormous errors in the conduct of our mission there.

WALLACE: Four years ago, you won Michigan by nine points over John McCain. But in the latest "Real Clear Politics" average of polls there, you are barely -- barely beating Rick Santorum.

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