If elected, Romney wants a say in 'fiscal cliff'

By Kasie Hunt

Associated Press

Published: Friday, Oct. 19 2012 12:00 a.m. MDT

Defense cuts are a second major issue. Both parties and the Pentagon say the cuts included in the automatic "sequester" are too severe and would impact national security. Congressional Republicans have said they don't want a temporary measure to prevent changes in defense spending, instead wanting to offer a permanent solution. Still, Republican officials said GOP lawmakers would likely be willing to implement a temporary solution if Romney were elected. That would allow Romney to deal with the cuts permanently next year.

Romney has made deficit reduction a centerpiece of his campaign. But he has repeatedly acknowledged that making them too quickly could risk harming the fragile economy.

Aside from the policy strategizing, Romney's transition team — it's made up of businesspeople, longtime Romney supporters and a handful of former Bush administration officials — has been drawing up lists of names for Cabinet posts.

Romney has a history of blending business and government. He did that as governor of Massachusetts, bringing in some former officials at his private equity firm, Bain Capital, to assist in running the state.

Leading the day-to-day transition team operations is Chris Liddell, the former chief financial officer of Microsoft and General Motors who helped manage the automaker's finances when it was going through managed bankruptcy with the help of millions in government funds.

Romney's finance team also is involved in plotting the transition.

While the government provides some support, campaigns are allowed to use leftover campaign money and raise an additional $5,000 per contributor for the transition.

Beyond the fiscal cliff discussions, Romney transition officials are weighing whether to allow registered federal lobbyists to take posts in the new government.

Obama placed restrictions on hiring lobbyists and has barred federally registered lobbyists from serving on government advisory boards, though he has issued waivers in some circumstances and hired lobbyists if they have been away from lobbying activities for a certain period of time. Romney is likely to lift at least some of those restrictions.

Follow Kasie Hunt on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/kasie

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