"Here now for his first visit to CNBC since April's exclusive interview is the presumed front-runner for the 2012 Republican nomination, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney. Governor Romney, welcome back to the show."
"Thanks, Larry. Good to be with you."
"All right. Thank you very much. Now, in your fund raising announcement yesterday - and we're very grateful you came on today, incidentally, because we love to talk about the intersection of money and politics - you were very critical of some of the other candidates fundraising prowess, and in particular you said they have no private sector experience. And then you made that joke where Calista Gingrich is telling a friend that she's responsible for making Newt a millionaire. Go ahead and finish that one off for us, please."
"Oh, okay. So her friend asks 'What was he before you?' and Calista says 'a billionaire'. That's a great old joke."
"It's all right. But it does lead us to the serious topic of the Gingrich financial picture. In the latest quarter he only raised two million dollars and he's floating over a million in debt. I believe that to be rather ineffective. My question to you is, would you shoot yourself if your own efforts turned out to be that lame?"
"No, but only because I consider suicide to be a mortal sin."
"All right. Very good response, OK, very clever, and I can't say I didn't see that coming. I'll put that down as a yes, you would kill yourself if you were that big of a loser."
"Those are Fred Karger numbers."
"No, they're not. Fred Karger only raised eighty thousand dollars this quarter, which in my book doesn't even qualify him to run for dogcatcher."
"That's not even enough to buy a nice car. But you know who's been doing some serious fundraising? Michele Bachmann. She hasn't released her second quarter figures yet, but I wouldn't be surprised if they show her playing in my league."
"But you have personal resources of over two hundred million which you're not shy about using for your own campaign. At the intersection of money and power, you're a Lamborghini and Bachmann is a Chevy Van."
"Well, you've got to have some place to put all those kids. Still, I'll be interested in seeing how much Michele rakes in."
"Don't get me wrong, so will I. As a matter of fact. she'll be on the Kudlow Report the day after she releases her totals. That is an honor that we only give to the real financial players, which is why you're on tonight. You raised eighteen million dollars this quarter. How does that make you feel?"
"Grateful towards the people who are willing to invest in a better tomorrow, of course, and thankful that..."
"No, I mean does that make you sad? Angry? While your eighteen million for the quarter is clearly beyond the realm of your competitors, it's nothing to write home about. I mean, Obama's fundraising machine could eat yours on a plate with fava beans and a nice Chianti."
"He certainly could pull a Hannibal Lecter on my machine, so I've just got to hope the audience doesn't like that character."
"A lot of people close to your campaign were giving hints of a twenty-five to thirty million dollar quarter, which would have been more in line with the 2007 Romney run where you weren't as well known. What's changed in those four years?"
"Larry, I guess the biggest difference is that the smaller contributors have become increasingly aware of my own personal fortune. There's a certain incongruity in the idea of donating money to a rich man."
"I couldn't agree more. Unless you're in a position to gain power through your contribution, you're better off using your little donation for pizza and a six pack."
"Absolutely. If twenty bucks is all you can send me, then just vote for me because you're a victim of the Obama economy and hope for the best."
"Sage advice. We've got to break for commercial but Governor Romney has agreed to stay with us for the entire show."
"I could talk about this stuff all night long."
"And tonight, you'll have that opportunity. Coming up at the intersection between money and politics, the potential juggernaut of a fundraising machine that is Rick Perry, and later on, the fundraising fiasco of Tim Pawlenty. Stay tuned."
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