Romney defends silence during debt-limit fight in Congress

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) pushed back Monday at critics of his relative silence during the debt-ceiling fight in Congress, saying his position was "clear" all along.

Romney said he felt no need to weigh in on day-to-day negotiations and the different proposals to authorize more U.S. borrowing because he had signed the "cut, cap and balance" pledge backed by a number of conservatives and other presidential contenders.

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"I think it was June 30, I came out and signed the 'cut, cap and balance' proposal," Romney said during remarks before the New Hampshire Chamber of Commerce. "I don't think you can be any clearer than that."

Romney's status as a signatory to the pledge does little to distinguish himself, though, from the other presidential contenders. All of them signed, even Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), who eventually relented despite her concerns that the pledge didn't go far enough.


But Romney, who leads most general polls of GOP voters' preference in a nominee, wouldn't weigh in on other proposals, drawing scrutiny from Democrats and Republicans alike. After the "cut, cap and balance" bill's defeat in the Senate, Romney would not weigh in on subsequent proposals from House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.). Romney eventually emerged on the day of a House vote on compromise legislation to oppose the final deal.

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) said last week she had no respect for the way Romney had handled the debt-ceiling fight, and David Axelrod, a senior adviser to President Obama's reelection campaign, assailed Romney's approach on Sunday.

"Let's talk about the rest of them, including Mr. Romney, the front-runner, who on the day that a compromise was reached that at least — made some progress and set a process in motion to do the rest, he jumped in after ducking and dodging and evading and took a position against this, without any solution," Axelrod said on CBS.

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