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What Romney Really Believes About Minimum Wage

Wednesday, 13 Feb 2013 | 11:55 AM ET
Romney: 'The President Has Failed the American People'
"This is about getting the economy going again, and getting our economy going, and putting people back to work means getting our marginal tax rates down," says Mitt Romney, Republican presidential candidate, discussing his 20% tax cut plan, the U.S. economic and the tough politics of campaigning, with CNBC's Larry Kudlow.

In Tuesday's State of the Union Address, President Obama claimed that he and Mitt Romney actually agree on raising the minimum wage. (Read More: Obama's State of the Union the Best Chance to Sway Public: Axelrod)

Here's the line from the speech:

"Tonight, let's declare that in the wealthiest nation on Earth, no one who works full-time should have to live in poverty, and raise the federal minimum wage to $9.00 an hour. …so here's an idea that Governor Romney and I actually agreed on last year: Let's tie the minimum wage to the cost of living, so that it finally becomes a wage you can live on."

There's only one problem with that claim, Romney backed away from it about a year ago during a live interview on CNBC's "Kudlow Report." The key exchange is below, watch it and judge for yourself:

Gov. ROMNEY: "Well, actually, when I was governor the legislature passed a law raising the minimum wage. I vetoed it."

KUDLOW: "Uh-huh."

(Read More: State of the Union May Well Set Tone for Budget Talks)

Gov. ROMNEY: "And I said, `Look, the way to deal with the minimum wage is this. On a regular basis,' I said in the proposal I made, `every two years we should look at the minimum wage, we should look at what's happened to inflation. We should also look at the jobs level throughout the country, unemployment rate, competitive rates in other states or, in this case, other nations.' So, certainly, the level of inflation is something you should look at and you should identify what's the right way to keep America competitive."

KUDLOW: "...no inflation..."

Gov. ROMNEY: "So--right."

KUDLOW: "...or at least very minimal inflation so far."

(Read More: With Apple CEO in Attendance, Obama to Talk Jobs in Address)

Gov. ROMNEY: "Yeah, so that would tell you that right now there's probably not a need to raise the minimum wage."

—Where Washington and Wall Street collide: Tune in to "The Kudlow Report" at 7pm ET weekdays. Follow "The Kudlow Report" on Twitter at @TheKudlowReport.

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  • Lawrence Kudlow is a CNBC senior contributor. Previously, Kudlow was anchor of CNBC's prime-time program "The Kudlow Report"