Excerpt from the Bloomberg News \The Washington Post Republican Presidential Debate
ROSE: We'll come back to energy, also your economic plan this evening, but I go now to Governor Romney. The paralysis there, and everybody's concerned about it. What specifically would you be prepared to do to make the country moving again on addressing its problems?
ROMNEY: I'd be prepared to be a leader. You can't get the country to go in the right direction and get Washington to work if you don't have a president that's a leader. And three years ago, we selected a person who had never had any leadership experience, never worked in the private sector, never had the opportunity to actually bring people together, and he hasn't been able to do so.
He said he'd bring us hope and change. Instead, he's divided the nation and tried to blame other people.
The real course for America is to have someone who is a leader, who can identify people in both parties who care more about the country than they care about getting reelected.
There are Democrats like that. There are Republicans like that. I was the governor of a state that had a few Democrats. People in this room know how many we had in Massachusetts.
ROSE: So it's essential to deal with Democrats and be prepared to compromise on the big issues of our time?
ROMNEY: You have to stand by your principles. At the same time, you know that good Democrats and good Republicans who love the country first will be able to find common ground from time to time and recognize we can't keep on spending like we're spending, we can't demand more from tax revenue from people, because that kills jobs and hurts working families.
We have got to help the middle class in this country. The only way that will come together is if you have people on both sides of the aisle who listen to a leader who has the experience of leading. And that's what America is looking for and desperately longing for.
ROSE: And back to Governor Perry, this plan that you would like to lay out, because Governor Romney has said you have had two months to produce a plan, an economic plan, he's had a 59 point plan, what is the plan? What will you say specifically?
PERRY: Well, clearly, opening up a lot of the areas of our domestic energy area. That's the real key.
You have got an administration that, by and large, has either by intimidation or over-regulation, put our energy industry and the rest of the economy in jeopardy. And we have got to have a president who is willing to stand up and to clearly pull back those regulations that are strangling the American entrepreneurship that's out there.
And it doesn't make any difference whether it's Obamacare, whether it's Dodd-Frank, or whether it's the tax burden. A president, particularly with the plan that I'm going to be laying out over the next three days -- and I'm not going to lay it out all for you tonight -- Mitt has had six years to be working on a plan. I have been in this for about eight weeks.
But, clearly, we're going to be focused on initially the energy industry in this country and making a America again independent, and clearly the place where domestic energy needs to be produced from.
ROSE: Let me introduce my friend Karen -- Karen.
TUMULTY: Congresswoman Bachmann, three years after the financial meltdown, Main Street continues to suffer. People have lost their jobs, they've lost their homes, they've lost their faith in the future. But Wall Street is thriving. The banks not only got bailed out by the government, they have made huge profits, they've paid themselves huge bonuses.
Do you think it's right that no Wall Street executives have gone to jail for the damage they did to the economy?
BACHMANN: I think if you look at the problem with the economic meltdown, you can trace it right back to the federal government, because it was the federal government that demanded that banks and mortgage companies lower platinum level lending standards to new lows.
TUMULTY: But the federal government has also deregulated them.
BACHMANN: It was the federal government that pushed the subprime loans. It was the federal government that pushed the Community Reinvestment Act. It was Congressman Barney Frank and also Senator Chris Dodd that continued to push government-directed housing goals.
They pushed the banks to meet these rules. And if banks failed to meet those rules, then the federal government said we won't let you merge, we won't let you grow.
There's a real problem, and it began with the federal government, and it began with Freddie and Fannie. If you look at these secondary mortgage companies which the federal government is essentially backing 100 percent, they put American mortgages in a very difficult place.
We had artificially low interest rates, Freddie and Fannie were the center of the universe on the mortgage meltdown, and we had lending standards lowered for the first time in American history. The fault goes back to the federal government, and that's what's wrong with Dodd- Frank.
Dodd-Frank institutionalized all of these problems that were put into effect by the federal government. That's why I introduced the bill to repeal Dodd-Frank. It's the Jobs and Housing Destruction Act.