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Romney: I'll Tell You What I'll Cut -- Later

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Steven Senne/AP

In a recent interview with Stephen F. Hayes of The Weekly Standard, Mitt Romney said that he would indeed cut and consolidate federal programs and agencies if elected president. He just won't specify which ones, because he says that information could be used against him. Here's Romney:

One of the things I found in a short campaign against Ted Kennedy was that when I said, for instance, that I wanted to eliminate the Department of Education, that was used to suggest I don’t care about education. So I think it’s important for me to point out that I anticipate that there will be departments and agencies that will either be eliminated or combined with other agencies. So for instance, I anticipate that housing vouchers will be turned over to the states rather than be administered at the federal level, and so at this point I think of the programs to be eliminated or to be returned to the states, and we’ll see what consolidation opportunities exist as a result of those program eliminations. So will there be some that get eliminated or combined? The answer is yes, but I’m not going to give you a list right now.

And that, writes Hayes, sums up Romney's problem with conservatives: "They want a list. They want it to be long, they want it to be detailed, and they want a candidate who is not only willing to provide one but eager to campaign on it."

I'm not sure what Romney's problem is here: Can't he just provide a list, campaign on it now, then shake the Etch-a-Sketch later if it turns out to cause problems for him in the general election?

(Hat tip: Talking Points Memo)

Tom Shoop is vice president and editor in chief at Government Executive Media Group, where he oversees both print and online editorial operations. He started as associate editor of Government Executive magazine in 1989; launched the company’s flagship website, GovExec.com, in 1996; and was named editor in chief in 2007.

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