While Romney is seen as a moderate on many issues, this is definitely not one of them.
Wendell Goler: I want to talk, gentlemen, about presidential power and the war on terror here at home. And Governor Romney, I’ll start with you. You have said that the government should wiretap some mosques to keep tabs on Islamic extremists. Would you do this even without a judge’s approval, sir?
Mitt Romney: No, of course not. We’d use the law to follow people who are teaching doctrines of terror and hate, and make sure that if they’re doing that in a mosque, in a school, at a playground, wherever it’s being done, we know what’s going on.
There’s no question but that we’re under threat from people who want to attack our country in this global effort. And I know there’s a lot of attention paid to, if you will, trying to respond to what would happen if we were attacked, and that’s appropriate. We need to have first response up to, up to the best standards.
But our focus has to be on preventing an attack, and preventing attack means good intelligence work. It means if people are coming to this country terrorizing or talking about terror in such a way that it could lead to the violent death of Americans, we need to know about that, track them, follow them, and make sure that in every way we can we know what they’re doing and where they’re doing it.
And if it means we have to go into a mosque to wiretap or a church, then that’s exactly where we’re going to go because we’re going to do whatever it takes to protect the American people. And I hear from time to time people say, hey, wait a second, we have civil liberties we have to worry about. But don’t forget the most important civil liberty I expect from my government is my right to be kept alive, and that’s what we’re going to have to do.
September 5, 2007: GOP Presidential Debate, Whittemore Center, University of New Hampshire, New Hampshire
“Conservatism has had from its inception vigorously positive, intellectually rigorous agenda and thinking. That agenda should have, mind you, three pillars: strength in the economy, strength in our security and strength in our families. We will strengthen our security by building missile defense, restoring our military might and standing by and strengthening our intelligence officers. Conservatives believe in providing constitutional rights to our citizens, not to enemy combatants like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. Not on our watch. A conversation with a would-be suicide bomber will not begin with the words, "You have the right to remain silent.”
February 20, 2010: 2010 Conservative Political Action Conference, Washington