Mitt Romney came to speak at the University of Denver's Law School yesterday. I thought I'd drop by and ended up getting a seat in the fourth row. So I recorded the event. The audio quality isn't great, but you're welcome to listen in here.
On the whole, I thought he came off pretty well. He was welcoming of questions, even from those who clearly disagreed with him, and that was a welcome change from certain incumbent presidents I could name. And he's clearly a true believer in free market capitalism, which of course delighted the Republicans in the audience.
One curious answer came to the first question. A student noted that Romney supports the line item veto for presidents, even though the Supreme Court found this unconstitutional. Romney blamed Giuliani for bringing that lawsuit in the first place. I thought it odd to argue, "Well, if we hadn't told the court, no one would know it wasn't legal."
Another questioner noted that private health insurance often has something like 20% in overhead costs, while public health insurance (Medicare) only has 2% overhead. Why, the questioner asks, don't we expand Medicare, rather than develop a bizarre system of private financing, which is less efficient? Romney gave a really obnoxious response to this, first laughing at the idea that government could be more efficient than the private sector, and then noting that private health facilities (not insurance companies) have a very low profit margin. And then he said that he doesn't want to turn over our nation's health care to the sort of people in charge of the Katrina cleanup. This was totally disingenuous, given that much of the Katrina cleanup was done -- poorly -- by private contractors. But, hey, he believes in the private sector.
He also thinks that Evangelical voters are with him. At least, they're less scared of him than they are of Giuliani, which is something.