Mitt Romney concedes to radio host Laura Ingraham that it will be a tough argument to get people to vote for a Republican if the economy continues to get stronger.
Here is the much talked-about back-and-forth:
LAURA INGRAHAM: You’ve also noted that there are signs of improvement on the horizon in the economy. How do you answer the president’s argument that the economy is getting better in a general election campaign if you yourself are saying it’s getting better?I have to say, it's probably the most surreal thing that I've heard any of the GOP candidates say thus far in the 2012 primary campaign -- and Gingrich has suggested an American moon-base by 2020.
MITT ROMNEY: Well, of course it’s getting better. The economy always gets better after a recession, there is always a recovery. There's never been a time anywhere in the world where an economy has never recovered. The question is, has it recovered by virtue of something the President's done or has he delayed the recovery and made it more painful?
The latter is, of course, the truth. The President's policies have made it, have made this recession deeper, and have made the recovery more tepid, more difficult on the American people. This is the worst recovery we've seen from a recession since Hoover. And President Obama wants to take credit for things getting better, he in fact has made things worse. He's made this recovery take much longer.
But will our economy get better someday? Of course it will, and it will not be thanks to the President Obama. It will be in spite of President Obama, and that's of course the message we have to give. If people think the right course for improving an economy is to massively expand debt and grow the government, well they can vote for Barack Obama. But, we know better.
INGRAHAM: Isn’t it a hard argument to make if you’re saying, like, OK, he inherited this recession, he took a bunch of steps to try to turn the economy around, and now, we’re seeing more jobs, but vote against him anyway? Isn’t that a hard argument to make? Is that a stark enough contrast?
ROMNEY: Have you got a better one, Laura? (laughs) It just happens to be the truth. We're going to see the numbers, in terms of how the economy does. It's very possible, by the way, that the economy will go into a decline again. I can't tell you that I can predict that's it going to get better. But I think at some point it's going to get better.
I think that I can hear Newt Gingrich's opposition research team drooling....