WHEN: TUESDAY, AUGUST 28 AT 5:00 PM ET
WHERE: CNBC'S "KUDLOW & COMPANY"
The following is the unofficial transcript of a CNBC interview with former Massachusetts Governor and Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney on CNBC's "Kudlow & Company" today at 5:00 PM ET. All references must be sourced to CNBC.
In the interview with CNBC's Larry Kudlow, Romney discusses economic policy as well as his new national healthcare plan, the housing downturn, the credit crunch and regulating hedge funds and private equity.
LARRY KUDLOW, host: Governor Mitt Romney of Massachusetts, presidential candidate on the Republican side, who is surging in the polls, actually. Governor, welcome back to KUDLOW & COMPANY.
Governor MITT ROMNEY: Thanks, Larry, good to be with you.
KUDLOW: All right, thank you, sir. I'm obliged to begin with what has become a front-page story. Senator Larry Craig of Ohio was caught in a police sting operation in the men's room of the Minneapolis Airport making sexual advances to another man. He's pleaded guilty to a disorderly conduct at the moment. Mr. Craig's one of your Senate leaders. I believe he was your Idaho state chairman. What is your comment on the Craig problem, sir?
Gov. ROMNEY: Well, very disappointing. Once again, we've found people in Washington have not lived up to the level of respect and dignity that we would expect for somebody that gets elected to a position of high influence. Very disappointing. He's no longer associated with my campaign, as you can imagine. He resigned just today. And you know, he was one of those who was helping my effort, and I'm sorry to see that he has fallen short.
KUDLOW: One of your backers, radio talk show host Hugh Hewitt, he's a great friend of mine, has called for Mr. Craig to resign from the Senate. Are you going to ask him to resign from the Senate? Will you make a public call on that?
Gov. ROMNEY: You know, I haven't made a call on that at this stage. You know, I haven't seen the allegations yet, I just heard that there was a guilty plea and he submitted a resignation as my liaison in the Senate. And you know, I'm very disappointed that he has--he's disappointed the American people.
KUDLOW: You know, there's a whole flood of stories on this, which I think to some extent may be a test of leadership in this primary. The Idaho Statesman has a devastating article about Craig, so does The Washington Post, so does Roll Call. Apparently, a couple years ago, a professional man close to the Republican Party reported having oral sex with Craig at Union Station in Washington in 2004. Apparently, there are allegations and charges going back to 1982, where Mr. Craig was forced to deny having sex with pages. Isn't this the sort of thing that reminds us all of the Mark Foley episode last fall, before the elections, that was devastating to the Republicans?
Gov. ROMNEY: Yeah, I think it reminds us of Mark Foley and Bill Clinton. I think it reminds us of the fact that people who are elected to public office continue to disappoint, and they somehow think that if they vote the right way on issues of significance or they can speak a good game, that we'll just forgive and forget. And the truth of the matter is, the most important thing we expect from elected--an elected official is a level of dignity and character that we can point to for our kids and our grandkids, and say, `Hey, someday I hope you grow up and you're someone like that person.' And we've seen disappointment in the White House, we've seen it in the Senate, we've seen it in Congress. And frankly, it's disgusting.