Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Berkowitz one on one with Gov. Mitt Romney on the line-item veto

Jeff Berkowitz: Governor, Steve Chapman, local Chicago Tribune columnist, questioned a few weeks ago, if you are a strict constructionist [of the U. S. Constitution], how you can support the line item veto, about which he points out, Article II, Section 7 [of the Constitution] says strictly that you [as President] can veto the entire legislation, but not by line item and, two, he says that Rehnquist and Clarence Thomas decided the line item veto was unconstitutional-- and Chapman says you can’t get to be more of a strict constructionist than those two justices. What do you say to Chapman?

Governor Mitt Romney: [Justice] Scalia is a pretty good strict constructionist and Scalia felt that the line item veto was not in violation of the Constitution and there have been people on both sides. I have a team who have looked at this issue and likewise feel that this is not unconstitutional. The question, of course, when Rudy Giuliani fought the line item veto, he was not out fighting to try to protect the Constitution—it was not that he was serving the American public by looking at laws coming out of Washington and saying, I am going to fight against anything that I think is unconstitutional. No, he went to get money for New York City. This was about more money for New York, not protecting the Constitution. And, he put getting money for New York ahead of the President’s ability to reign in excessive spending. And, if we would have had the line item veto, the Bridge to Nowhere would be nowhere [Actually, it is nowhere, the appropriation was withdrawn]. If we’d have had the line-item veto, America would have saved billions and billions and billions of wasted dollars. Now, the President has put forward a new plan that allows for line item type review and members of Congress have done the same thing. Let’s pass one of those so that the President has the ability to cut out excessive spending. I used the line item veto in my State 844 times. It wasn’t found to be against our Constitution and it was written by the same guy, John Adams. And, using that line item veto I was able to stop some pretty bad things. There was a proposed $ 1.30 tax on every prescription drug in Massachusetts, I vetoed that. And, it was upheld. There was a proposal to end the construction of new charter schools. I vetoed that. And, it was upheld. And, so the line item veto works. It is a great way to reign in excessive speeding, I believe we should certainly have a line item veto for the President, and whether it is going to have to pass constitutional muster, of course, but there are proposals that can do that. And, my argument with the Mayor is why in the world would you use your clout to try to stop the President from reigning in excessive spending, particularly when people like Bob Dole and Newt Gingrich and [other] Republicans worked very hard to get that provision in
Governor Mitt Romney, answering questions from the Chicago media on October 30, 2007 at a Press Conference held at the Chicago Executive Airport [previously known as Palwaukee airport] in Wheeling, IL (about 40 minutes northwest of the Chicago Loop). Romney, leading in the polls of Republican Presidential candidates in Iowa and New Hampshire, but trailing Mayor Giuliani, significantly, in the national polls, stopped in the Chicagoland area for a fundraiser at a hanger in the Airport, followed by an evening funder at a Winnetka home. Romney was on his way to Iowa.

Although the Romney campaign did not give any estimates of the amount of money it thought it would raise at the funders, this reporter, based on his analysis of the number of cars parked on streets adjacent to the Sheridan Road home in Winnetka , the price to attend and the reports of the number of people who were dropped off at the Winnetka home by chauffeurs, estimated the amount raised at the Winnetka Fundraiser to be about $250,000 to $300,000.

For more comprehensive report of the presser from the AP’s Deanna Bellandi and the Chicago Sun-Times Abdon Pallasch, respectively, go here and here.
Jeff Berkowitz, Show Host/Producer of "Public Affairs," and Executive Legal Recruiter doing legal search can be reached at You may watch "Public Affairs," shows with Presidential Candidates Richardson, Obama, McCain, Giuliani and Cox and many other pols at