Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) encouraged President Obama on Thursday to embrace the principles contained in the "Cut, Cap and Balance" pledge supported by most GOP presidential candidates.
Romney, who's been reluctant to wade into the tense negotiations in Washington between Obama and congressional Republicans, said that the pledge, promoted by Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) as a litmus test for presidential candidates, would defuse the debt negotiations.
"The answer for the country is for the president to agree to cut federal spending, cap federal spending and put in place a balanced-budget amendment," Romney said during a Q-and-A session in New Hampshire.
"If the president were to do those things, this whole debt-limit issue disappears," he said.
Romney's a signatory of the pledge, as are virtually all of the other Republican candidates for president. The exception is Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), who's said the pledge should include a provision to mandate a repeal of the president's healthcare bill before she signs.
There are variations of that pledge reportedly under consideration as part of a deal to raise the debt limit. Republican leaders in Congress have demanded spending cuts and reforms in exchange for authorizing more borrowing power.
Arguably the most difficult part of the pledge to satisfy would be its requirement that a balanced-budget amendment be enacted, a tenet onto which the White House hasn't latched.
Outside that, Romney didn't offer many specifics as to how he would address the debt, and he avoided any criticism of the GOP negotiators — a tack differing in some ways from the other presidential candidates. He said entitlement reforms were critical to balancing the budget, but didn't offer any specifics beyond referring audience members to the solutions contained in his most recent book.