In an interview with the conservative magazine The Weekly Standard, GOP frontrunner Mitt Romney said that talking specifics about what government programs he’d like to eliminate during a campaign has hurt him in the past, which is why he’s sticking to generalities this time. He also acknowledged that his religious beliefs and his history with health care are hurting him with hard-core conservatives.
Romney explained, in an article entitled “Risk-Averse Romney,” that when he said he’d eliminate the Department of Education during his Senate run against Edward M. Kennedy in 1994 it allowed Democrats to portray him as anti-education. This time around it’s different: “So I think it’s important for me to point out that I anticipate that there will be departments and agencies that will either be eliminated or combined with other agencies,” he said, without naming them specifically.
He continued, by way of example, saying that under his administration, housing vouchers would be administered at the state rather than the federal level, creating opportunities for consolidation. "So will there be some that get eliminated or combined? The answer is yes, but I’m not going to give you a list right now,” he told The Weekly Standard.
He acknowledged that some conservatives are disenchanted with him because of the Massachusetts health plan passed when he was governor, and because of his Mormon beliefs: “There are some—the health care plan in Massachusetts they can’t get over. There are others for whom religion is an issue.” He said he expects those conservatives to come home to him in November, should he win the nomination.