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Quotes from Reuters Washington Summit

Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) gestures as he responds to a question during the Reuters Washington Summit in Washington, June 26, 2012. REUTERS/
Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) gestures as he responds to a question during the Reuters Washington Summit in Washington, June 26, 2012. REUTERS/

(Reuters) - Key U.S. lawmakers, campaign officials, political operators and budget analysts discuss their strategies for the political battles ahead in the run-up to the November 6 presidential election and beyond, at the Reuters Washington Summit June 25 to 27.

Here are some quotes from the summit:

REPUBLICAN SENATOR ROB PORTMAN

On Romney as president:

"This is something I have never said publicly, I've told my wife this, but I think he'd be willing to risk being a one-term president in order to make the tough decisions that are going to be required."

On the economy:

"We have the most predictable economic crisis in our history coming, in my view. It has to do with what happens at year's end. It has to do with a fundamentally weak economy.

"Right now, we're the cleanest dirty shirt in the closet. Let's face it. The Eurozone is in trouble. China's slowing ... Even though we appear to be in better shape than the Eurozone right now, our debt to GDP ratio is higher than theirs."

On the political mood:

"I'd rather be a challenger than an incumbent this year. People are fed up. They're not happy with the status quo, in terms of the economy, in terms of the future. They're worried about their future. They're worried whether the American dream is going to be lost."

REPUBLICAN SENATOR ROY BLUNT

On the need for compromise:

"I could get in lots of trouble in the current environment saying I think we should have more compromise. But I think what I've said about that is what I believe - compromise is the price for living in a democracy.

"Only in the recent politics in the country has compromise been seen as an evil as opposed to a positive.

"I'm bothered by our politics in general that suggests that if you don't get exactly what you want, that somehow that's a failure."

"If you get 85 percent of what you want, that's a victory and not a defeat. Governing is never the choice between the perfect and the possible - it's always the choice between the possible and deciding you'd rather not get anything done."

"If I was watching one state on election night, it would be (Virginia). I don't think Romney has to carry Virginia but if he carries Virginia I think he's the president."

FORMER REPUBLICAN REPRESENTATIVE TOM DAVIS

On the role the European crisis might play in the election:

"Economically, all the difference in the world. The problem for the president is, he could make every right decision over the next ... 4-1/2 months and it could be just wiped out in a single day by something going on in Europe. "

On immigration:

"The only good thing we've got going is the Democrats aren't much better - they haven't really produced good outcomes on this stuff. They talk a good line. They controlled everything the first two years - why didn't they do immigration reform then? It mystifies me. I think it would have been smart politics - if you're going to give people amnesty, give them amnesty and then they can vote for you the next time."

On Romney's vice presidential pick:

"It'll be our first window into who he is to see what kind of candidate he picks. How is he going to govern? This is your first window into (it)."

JONATHAN COLLEGIO, AMERICAN CROSSROADS SUPER PAC

"There's a lot of coordination among outside groups, all of which is allowed. Starting in 2010, Crossroads started bringing together a lot of the organizations that were spending substantial amounts of money on the issues of the election. The goal there was to maximize the efficiency of what we were doing."

"It's difficult for any outside organization to run effective positive ads, and the reason for that is the most effective positive ads use the candidate as a messenger. So if you really wanted to have a positive message on taxes for a certain candidate, the best way to do that is to put the candidate on camera and have him talk to the camera."

"I think there's a tendency for outside money to gravitate towards stopping the agenda of the party that's in power. I think that in 2004 you saw very wealthy liberal donors trying to stop President Bush because they didn't like what he was doing in Iraq. … In some ways it's easier to generate enthusiasm, there's generally more enthusiasm to stop something than there is to keep something going."

Follow Reuters Summits on Twitter @Reuters_Summits

(Reporting by Deborah Charles and Gabriel Debenedetti; Editing by Anthony Boadle)

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