Mark Halperin interviews Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney on December 21, 2011, on Romney’s campaign bus traveling in New Hampshire from Hanover to Ashland.
Halperin: As I was riding to your event today, I was listening to Rush Limbaugh and he was, as he sometimes does, going after you. He was saying he was disappointed that you refused, in an interview the night before, to call the President a socialist. Do you think Rush Limbaugh has too much influence on Republican politics? Do you think his role in the party is excessive? That he’s excessive at times?
Romney: You know, Rush Limbaugh has an audience that speaks a very important voice [sic]. I don’t begrudge him the great success he’s had and the influence he has. Sometimes he’s agreed with me; sometimes disagreed with me. And, so I can only look with him, at him and say, “Congratulations, well done. You’ve built quite a following.”
Halperin: So you don’t agree with some people like Sen. McCain, who’d said people like Rush Limbaugh, some of the talk show radio hosts have too much influence in the party?
Romney: You know, I let people choose their own course. If they want to listen to certain voices and find them to be compelling, that’s their right to do so. It doesn’t mean that I agree with those voices but I’m certainly not going to suggest to the American that they turn off their radio and not listen to someone who I may or may not agree with. By in large, Rush Limbaugh speaks a number of conservative principles that a lot of us agree with.