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CNBC TRANSCRIPT: FIRST ON CNBC: REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE MITT ROMNEY ON CNBC’S “FAST MONEY HALFTIME REPORT” TODAY

Erin Kitzie
Friday, 1 Jun 2012 | 1:52 PM ET

WHEN: Today, Friday, June 1, 2012

WHERE: CNBC’s “Fast Money Halftime Report

Following is the unofficial transcript of a FIRST ON CNBC interview with Republican Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney today on CNBC's "Fast Money Halftime Report.” All references must be sourced to CNBC.

Video of the interview can be found here: http://video.cnbc.com/gallery/?video=3000093638

CARL QUINTANILLA: WELCOME BACK TO THE HALFTIME REPORT. THE PRESUMPTIVE REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE MITT ROMNEY CALLING MAY’S JOBS NUMBER DEVASTATING NEWS AND A SIGN THAT PRESIDENT OBAMA’S ECONOMIC POLICIES HAVE FAILED. GOVERNOR ROMNEY JOINS US NOW FOR A FIRST ON CNBC INTERVIEW FROM CALIFORNIA. GOVERNOR GOOD TO HAVE YOU WITH US.

MITT ROMNEY: THANK YOU. GOOD MORNING. GOOD TO BE WITH YOU THIS MORNING EVEN THOUGH IT’S VERY BAD NEWS OBVIOUSLY FOR MIDDLE CLASS FAMILIES IN AMERICA.

QUINTANILLA: 69,000. LESS THAN HALF THE ESTIMATE. SOMEONE POINTED OUT THIS MORNING THAT THE WHITE HOUSE RESPONSE HAS BEEN THESE PROBLEMS ARE LONG IN THE MAKING, THEY ARE NOT GOING TO BE SOLVED OVERNIGHT. THEY’VE HAD 1,228 NIGHTS IN THE WHITE HOUSE. WHAT IS NOT WORKING?

ROMNEY: WELL THE PRESIDENT’S POLICIES, AND HIS HANDLING OF THE ECONOMY HAS BEEN DEALT A HARSH INDICTMENT THIS MORNING AND IT CONTINUES. WE’VE HAD 40 STRAIGHT MONTHS WITH UNEMPLOYMENT OVER 8 PERCENT. 40 STRAIGHT MONTHS. AND AS YOU RECALL, FROM THE BEGINNING OF THE OBAMA’S ADMINISTRATION, THEY INDICATED THAT UNEMPLOYMENT WOULD BE KEPT BELOW 8 PERCENT FOR THIS ENTIRE PERIOD. AND THEY PREDICTED THAT BY NOW WE WOULD BE IN THE 6’S WITH OUR LEVEL OF UNEMPLOYMENT. THEIR POLICIES HAVE NOT WORKED, AND IN MANY RESPECTS, THEIR POLICIES HAVE MADE IT HARDER FOR THE ECONOMY TO RECOVER. I THINK THAT IS ONE OF THE REASONS WHY PEOPLE ARE LOOKING FOR A NEW DIRECTION.

QUINTANILLA: WE’VE HAD DISCUSSIONS HERE AT THIS TABLE ABOUT WHAT THE REASON IS FOR UNCERTAINTY. WHY BUSINESS LEADERS ARE SO UNWILLING TO HIRE FOR THE LONG TERM, HIRE PART-TIME WHEN THEY COULD HIRE FULL-TIME. SOME ARGUE THAT IT IS ABOUT REGULATORY UNCERTAINTY – DODD FRANK, ENERGY REGULATION IN THIS COUNTRY. OTHERS SAY IT IS ALL ABOUT THE EURO AND FEARS ABOUT A COLLAPSE OF AFIA CURRENCY. WHAT’S THE MIX? WHERE DOES THE WHITE HOUSE RESPONSIBILITY END AND EUROPEAN RESPONSIBILITY BEGIN FOR THESE JOBS NUMBERS?

ROMNEY: WELL OF COURSE THIS HAS BEEN GOING ON FOR A LOT LONGER THAN JUST THE CRISIS IN THE EURO. THIS CRISIS HAS BEEN GOING ON FOR 40 MONTHS. AND UNFORTUNATELY, YOU’VE HAD A PRESIDENT THAT HAS BEEN MORE FOCUSED ON HIS PERSPECTIVE OF HIS HISTORIC LEGISLATIVE ACHIEVEMENTS THAN HE HAS BEEN FOCUSED ON GETTING PEOPLE BACK TO WORK. JOBS ARE JOB ONE FOR THE PRESIDENCY. AND THIS PRESIDENT INSTEAD PUT IN PLACE OBAMACARE, WHICH HIS OWN TEAM CONCLUDED WOULD SLOW THE RECOVERY AND IT HAS. BUT HE DECIDED INSTEAD OF GETTING PEOPLE BACK TO WORK, HE’D FIGHT FOR SOMETHING HE THOUGHT WAS HISTORIC. AND FRANKLY, THE AMERICAN PEOPLE DON’T WANT IT AND WE CAN’T AFFORD IT. AND THAT IS ENERGY POLICIES MADE IT LESS LIKELY FOR US TO DEVELOP ENERGY PARTICULARLY ON GOVERNMENT LAND – WHETHER IN ALASKA, OR THE GULF OF MEXICO, OR THE OUTERCONTINENTAL SHELF – EVEN IN PENNSYLVANIA AND OHIO, HIS ENERGY POLICIES HAVE PUT PEOPLE OUT OF WORK AND NOT PUT THEM BACK TO WORK. THE PRESIDENT’S POLICIES WITH REGARDS TO TAXATION, REGULATION, AS WELL AS TRADE POLICIES, LABOR POLICIES – ALL OF THEM HAVE MADE IT LESS LIKELY FOR BUSINESSES, SMALL AND LARGE, TO WANT TO HIRE MORE PEOPLE. AND WHEN YOU ADD TO THAT, THE NORMAL UPS AND DOWNS OF THE WORLD ECONOMY, IT’S BEEN REAL TOUGH ON THE AMERICAN FAMILY.

QUINTANILLA: ARE YOU ARGUING THOUGH THAT THE PROBLEMS IN EUROPE ARE INSIGNIFICANT TO THE JOBS TROUBLES HERE IN THE STATES?

ROMNEY: OH, OF COURSE THE DEVELOPMENTS AROUND THE WORLD ALWAYS INFLUENCE OUR JOBS. BUT WE SHOULD BE WELL INTO A VERY ROBUST RECOVERY BY NOW. IF THE PRESIDENT'S POLICIES HAD WORKED, IF HE HAD BEEN ABLE TO GET AMERICA BACK ON TRACK, WHY WE WOULD BE LOOKING AT WHAT HAPPENED IN EUROPE AS BEING A PROBLEM, BUT CERTAINLY NOT DEVASTATING. THESE NUMBERS ARE DEVASTATING. YOU GOT KIDS COMING HOW OUT OF COLLEGE THAT CAN'T FIND JOBS, KIDS COMING OUT OF HIGH SCHOOL THAT CAN'T FIND WORK, PEOPLE WHOSE HOMES ARE UNDER WATER. YOU’VE GOT A LOT OF MIDDLE INCOME FAMILIES THAT WONDER WHETHER THE JOB THEY’VE GOT, THEY WILL BE ABLE TO KEEP. THIS IS VERY BAD NEWS FOR THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. AND THE PRESIDENT IS ALWAYS QUICK TO FIND SOMEONE TO BLAME. FIRST IT WAS GEORGE BUSH, THEN IT WAS CONGRESS, ATM MACHINES, EUROPE, HE'S ALWAYS GOT SOMEONE. BUT THE TRUTH IS, THE JOB OF THE PRESIDENT IS TO GET AMERICA BACK TO WORK.

QUINTANILLA: SO WHAT CAN BE DONE IN THE SHORT-TERM? WHAT CAN BE SAID TO PRIVATE EMPLOYERS IN THIS COUNTRY THAT WILL INSTILL IN THEM THE CONFIDENCE TO HIRE? BECAUSE CLEARLY, GOING TO EUROPE AND BROKERING SOME SORT OF POLICY THAT SETTLES FEARS ABOUT EUROPE IS GOING TO BE MUCH MORE DIFFICULT. WHAT CAN BE DONE IN THE NEAR TERM?

ROMNEY: WELL, PROBABLY THE MOST SIGNIFICANT THING WE CAN DO IN THE NEAR TERM IS TO GET A NEW PRESIDENT THAT UNDERSTANDS WHAT IT TAKES TO GET THE ECONOMY GOING. LET ME TELL YOU WHAT I WOULD DO. I’D NUMBER ONE, MAKE SURE THAT WE TAP OUR ENERGY RESOURCES AND PUT A LOT OF PEOPLE TO WORK IN THE ENERGY SECTOR. NUMBER TWO, I'D KILL OBAMA CARE. IT IS SCARING SMALL BUSINESS FROM HIRING. NUMBER THREE, I’D PUT AMERICA ON TRACK TO BALANCE OUR BUDGET SO THAT AGAIN PEOPLE KNOW THAT INVESTING IN AMERICA IS GOING TO YIELD A RETURN IN DOLLARS WORTH SOMETHING. AND ALSO OPEN UP NEW MARKETS FOR AMERICAN TRADE SO WE CAN SELL MORE PRODUCTS AROUND THE WORLD. AND I WOULD CHANGE OUR LABOR MANAGEMENT FIELD, THE NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS BOARD IS AGAIN SCARING EMPLOYERS FROM HIRING PEOPLE IN THIS COUNTRY. WE ALSO WANT TO LOWER TAX RATES ON EMPLOYERS SO THEY CAN MAKE IT EASIER TO HIRE PEOPLE. ALL OF THESE THINGS COME TOGETHER TO SAY, YOU PUT TOGETHER A PRO-GROWTH, PRO-INVESTMENT, PRO-JOBS, PRO-JOB CREATING PHILOSOPHY AND STRATEGY AND AMERICAN EMPLOYERS WILL START HIRING AGAIN.

QUINTANILLA: WE ARE NOW AVERAGING 96,000 JOBS OVER THE PAST THREE MONTHS. THE CHAIRMAN OF THE FED, BEN BERNANKE, HAS CONSISTENTLY SAID HE'S LOOKING FOR SOMETHING MORE IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD OF 150,000 TO 200,000. SHOULD THE FED PROVIDE ADDITIONAL POLICY, AND IF SO, WHAT KIND?

ROMNEY: THE FED STIMULATIVE EFFECTS HAVE REALLY RUN THEIR COURSE. QE2 WAS NOT ABLE TO YIELD THE ECONOMIC BENEFIT, WHICH THEY HOPED IT WOULD BE ABLE TO YIELD. AND I THINK THAT'S, IN PART, BECAUSE THE PRESIDENT'S POLICIES HAVE PRETTY MUCH ALL CONSISTENTLY COME TOGETHER TO BE DEPRESSING TO THE ECONOMY. AND AS A RESULT SOME OF THE FEDS STIMULATIVE EFFORTS HAVE FALLEN ON HARD TIMES. I DON'T THINK WE ARE LOOKING FOR MORE, A QE3, IF YOU WILL, I DON'T THINK THAT WILL HAVE ANY MORE IMPACT THAN QE2 DID. I THINK THE RIGHT COURSE IS TO HAVE STEADINESS FROM THE FED, TO MAINTAIN AN EFFORT TO HAVE A STRONG CURRENCY AND A PREDICTABLE CURRENCY AND THE RIGHT COURSE IS TO GET THE GOVERNMENT, GET THE PRESIDENT FOCUSED ON THE ISSUE PEOPLE REALLY WANT TO SEE HIM FOCUS ON, WHICH IS JOBS. JOBS IS THE JOB ONE OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.

QUINTANILLA: YOU’VE REFERRED A COUPLE TIMES TO THE UPS AND DOWNS OF THE GLOBAL ECONOMY. AND I'M WONDERING, YOU ALMOST MAKE IT SOUND LIKE WE ARE IN JUST ANOTHER CYCLICAL DOWNTURN IN EUROPE. ANOTHER CYCLICAL DOWNTURN POTENTIALLY IN CHINA AND INDIA. CAN YOU CHARACTERIZE YOUR LEVEL OF CONCERN? YOU ARE A BUSINESSMAN WHO KNOWS ABOUT DOING BUSINESS AROUND THE WORLD. HOW WORRIED ARE YOU ABOUT THE STATE OF THE ECONOMY OUTSIDE OF THE UNITED STATES?

ROMNEY: WELL, FIRST OF ALL, CHINA IS OBVIOUSLY GROWING VERY QUICKLY, BUT IS FRAGILE IN MANY RESPECTS. AND THEIR ECONOMY COULD SEE A REVERSAL AT ANY POINT, I HOPE THAT DOESN'T HAPPEN, BUT IT IS CERTAINLY NOT AS STABLE AND PREDICTABLE AS YOU WOULD HOPE. OBVIOUSLY WHAT'S HAPPENING IN EUROPE IS GREATLY CONCERNING. I HOPE THEY FIND A WAY TO KEEP GREECE IN THE EU. I THINK THE POLICIES THAT SHOULD BE DEPLOYED THERE WOULD BE DESIGNED TO GET GREECE ON A TRACK TO HAVE CREDIBILITY IN THEIR FISCAL POLICY AND TO CONVINCE THE OTHER EUROPEAN NATIONS THAT GREECE WILL ACTUALLY BE ABLE TO HONOR ITS COMMITMENTS LONG TERM. BUT THESE DEVELOPMENTS ARE UNFORTUNATE IN THE GLOBAL ECONOMY, BUT FRANKLY WE FACE THESE KINDS OF DEVELOPMENTS IN THE PAST, AND AMERICA'S ECONOMY HAS NOT CONTINUED TO BOUNCE ALONG THE BOTTOM. WE HAVE GONE 40 MONTHS. THESE DEVELOPMENTS ARE NOT SOMETHING THAT’S BEEN GOING ON, OR THEY HAVE BEEN GOING ON FOR 40 MONTHS. THEY HAVE BEEN GOING ON OVER THE LAST SEVERAL MONTHS AND THEY ARE HAVING A DAMPENING EFFECT. THERE IS NO QUESTION ABOUT THAT. THE REAL QUESTION IS, WHAT CAN WE DO? WE CAN'T CHANGE WHAT'S GOING TO HAPPEN IN EUROPE. WE CAN'T CHANGE WHAT'S GOING TO HAPPEN IN CHINA. WE CAN HOPE FOR THE BEST, OFFER OUR COUNSEL, BUT THERE ARE THINGS WE CAN DO TO MAKE THE ECONOMY IN THIS COUNTRY AS ROBUST AS POSSIBLE. AND UNFORTUNATELY WHAT THE PRESIDENT HAS DONE HAS MADE IT LESS AND LESS LIKELY FOR INVESTORS TO WANT TO INVEST IN AMERICA, FOR EMPLOYERS TO WANT TO HIRE IN AMERICA, AND THAT'S THE INDICTMENT THAT YOU'RE SEEING ON THIS ADMINISTRATION'S POLICIES.

QUINTANILLA: YOU HAVE THE SUPPORT OF DONALD TRUMP. HE IS ON OUR AIR EVERY TUESDAY ON OUR MORNING SHOW "SQUAWK BOX." ALWAYS ENTERTAINING, ALWAYS PROVOCATIVE, HIS RESUMPTION THOUGH OF THE BIRTHER ARGUMENT HAS MADE SOME UNCOMFORTABLE, AND I'M WONDERING IF YOU DISAGREE WITH THAT, WHY NOT JUST TELL HIM TO KNOCK IT OFF? WHY WOULD THAT BE SO DIFFICULT?

ROMNEY: WELL I DISAGREE WITH IT. I THINK THERE'S NO QUESTION, BUT THE PRESIDENT WAS BORN IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. I DON'T GO AROUND TELLING ALL MY SUPPORTERS WHAT THEY SHOULD THINK OR WHAT THEY SHOULD SAY. HE KNOWS WHAT I BELIEVE ABOUT THIS. I BELIEVE THE REAL ISSUES IN THIS CAMPAIGN AND THE ISSUES THAT AMERICA CARES ABOUT ARE NOT ISSUES OF THE PRESIDENT'S PERSONALITY OR MATTERS OF THAT NATURE, BUT INSTEAD THE ISSUE IS THE PRESIDENT IN A POSITION TO LEAD AMERICA AND TO GET US OUT OF THESE ECONOMIC DOLDRUMS AND PUT FAMILIES BACK TO WORK. I DON'T THINK HE IS. I THINK HE'S PROVEN OVER THE LAST THREE AND A HALF YEARS HE'S NOT UP TO THE TASK. HE'S OVER HIS HEAD.

QUINTANILLA: ON PRIVATE EQUITY, WE TALK ABOUT THE ATTACKS ON BAIN CAPITAL HERE ALL THE TIME AT THE FLOOR OF THE NEW YORK STOCK EXCHANGE. NEWARK MAYOR CORY BOOKER RECENTLY CALLED THOSE ATTACKS NAUSEATING. LAST NIGHT PRESIDENT CLINTON SUGGESTED THEY SHOULD STOP. DO YOU BELIEVE THEY ARE UNFAIR? AND IF SO, WHY HAVE YOU NOT MORE PUBLICLY EMBRACED YOUR PAST IN PRIVATE EQUITY?

ROMNEY: WELL, I'M HAPPY TO EMBRACE MY PAST IN PRIVATE EQUITY. I'M VERY PROUD OF MY RECORD. PROUD OF THE WORK THAT I'VE HAD BOTH AS THE GOVERNOR OF MASSACHUSETTS AND AS WELL AS THE LEADER OF THE OLYMPICS. AND CERTAINLY AT BAIN CAPITAL, AN ENTERPRISE I HELPED TO FOUND. I UNDERSTAND THAT OVER THE LAST 28 YEARS ACCORDING TO A LETTER THEY WROTE TO THEIR INVESTORS, 80% OF THE BUSINESSES BAIN CAPITAL INVESTED IN GREW DURING THE PERIOD OF BAIN CAPITAL'S OWNERSHIP. THAT'S PRETTY GOOD RECORD. 5% WENT BANKRUPT. I UNDERSTAND THE PRESIDENT AND HIS TEAM WILL FOCUS ALL THEIR ENERGY ON THE 5%. I LIKE TO FOCUS MY ENERGY ON THE 80%. AND I THINK BAIN CAPITAL HAS A GOOD AND SOLID RECORD. I WAS HAPPY TO SEE PRESIDENT CLINTON MADE A SIMILAR STATEMENT TODAY AND CALLED MY RECORD SUPERB. I CERTAINLY BELIEVE IT'S A RECORD THAT SHOWS I UNDERSTAND HOW THE ECONOMY WORKS AT THE LEVEL OF JOB CREATORS. HOW IT IS BUSINESSES DECIDE TO GROW, WHY THEY DECIDE TO LOCATE IN AMERICA OR LEAVE AMERICA. THOSE ARE THINGS I UNDERSTAND. I WANT TO USE THAT UNDERSTANDING TO GET BUSINESSES TO COME BACK TO THIS COUNTRY, TO GROW IN THIS COUNTRY, TO ADD JOBS IN THIS COUNTRY. I KNOW HOW TO DO THAT. AND I CAN TELL YOU THIS, NOT EVERYTHING I DO WILL BE DONE PERFECTLY. I'M SURE. WE ARE ALL HUMAN. BUT I WILL FOCUS ALL MY ENERGY ON GETTING AMERICA BACK TO WORK. AND THIS PRESIDENT HAS NOT.

QUINTANILLA: PART OF THE PROCESS OF PRIVATE EQUITY IS TAKING A COMPANY PUBLIC, LIKE FACEBOOK. YOU'VE LIVED THROUGH THIS PROCESS. DO YOU THINK THE PUBLIC OFFERING PROCESS IS BROKEN? AND DO INVESTORS HAVE UNREALISTIC EXPECTATIONS WHEN IT COMES TO NEW OFFERS IN THIS COUNTRY?

ROMNEY: WELL, I CAN'T SPEAK FOR ALL THE INVESTORS IN THE COUNTRY. SOME INITIAL PUBLIC OFFERINGS OBVIOUSLY ARE UNDERPRICED AND PEOPLE MAKE A GREAT RETURN BASED ON THE STOCK VALUES RISING SHORTLY THEREAFTER. OTHERS ARE OVERPRICED AND COME DOWN. I HOPE THAT PEOPLE WHO INVEST IN THE STOCK MARKET RECOGNIZE THAT IT IS A DIFFICULT BEAST TO PREDICT. NONETHELESS, I THINK A GREAT INVESTMENT IN AMERICA OVER A LONG PERIOD OF TIME WITH A BROAD SELECTION OF COMPANIES IS LIKELY TO PAY A GOOD RETURN.

QUINTANILLA: GOVERNOR ROMNEY, THANKS SO MUCH FOR YOUR TIME TODAY AND HELPING US DEAL WITH L.A. TRAFFIC AND SO FORTH. PLEASE COME BACK.

ROMNEY: THANKS SO MUCH. GOOD TO BE WITH YOU.

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