Mary Katharine Ham

MKH: Thanks, Gov. Romney, for taking some time to hang out with us at Townhall today. I’m in D.C. Where are you today?

MR: I’m in Iowa City, IA, which is the home of the University of Iowa, and I just met with 3 or 400 people who were interested in what I’m up to, so it’s a pretty exciting time.

MKH: Let me jump right into this with the Va Tech tragedy, which is of course, what’s on everyone’s minds this week. A lot of our readers are upset that NBC went ahead and showed the Cho video. Should they have taken that step?

MR: Well, I hope that at some point there’s a level of care and responsibility that’s gonna be shown by the members of the mainstream media not to in any way encourage copycat-type activity. And, the attention being given Mr. Cho is, I think, beyond any reasonable level. I certainly wish we could have been far more discreet in what we decide to show the world and keep these copycats from popping up all over the country.

I’d rather show a lot more coverage of people like Liviu Librescu, the fellow who barred the door to keep the gunman from getting to his students. These are the kind of stories we should be hearing.

MKH: Now, one of your claims to fame is that you came into the Utah Olympics and turned around the security situation. Lots of folks are talking about security changes that need to happen on college campuses in light of this. Do you have any thoughts on what those might be and what, if any, role the federal government should be playing in making them happen?

MR: Well, every time something bad happens in the country, there are some folks who say, ‘OK, there oughtta be a federal law put in place to change it.’ And, I’d rather start by saying let’s let individual states and communities decide what they think is best.

In some cases, federal laws help, but I don’t think at this stage it makes sense for us to come up with some federal law to somehow change all this. I do believe the governor of Virginia is right by gathering a group of experts, including Tom Ridge, to take a full review of the law-enforcement response and the decisions made at Virginia Tech, and, I think that’ll be instructive to other universities and other law enforcement agencies around the country. And, we’ll learn from this experience, but I’m not sure if a federal law is called for. Time will tell.

MKH: We’ve already dived head-long, here in Washington, into the inevitable and tacky gun-control debate. Rep. Carolyn McCarthy has already introduced a bill. What’s your take on the battle lawmakers are gearing up for and just how fast they’re gearing up for it?

Mary Katharine Ham

Mary Katharine Ham is editor-at-large of, a contributor to Townhall Magazine.

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