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Romney vows specifics, and calls for halt to automatic defense cuts

 

Mitt Romney promised Monday to offer more specifics about how he would turn around the economy, offering detail on at least one policy plank by calling on Congress to halt automatic defense cuts set to take place next year.

"I'll describe in some depth my economic plans as we continue through the campaign," Romney said in response to CNBC's Larry Kudlow, who echoed criticism to Romney that his plans lacked specificity.

The presumptive GOP nominee has previously drawn criticism for generally avoiding specifying how his tax and spending plans would add up. In an interview last month on CBS, Romney refused to say, for instance, which tax breaks he would eliminate to finance his overall package of tax reforms.

Frederic J. Brown / AFP - Getty Images

Mitt Romney speaks at a small-business roundtable discussion at Endural, a manufacturer of plastic containers, on July 23 in Costa Mesa, Calif.

Nonetheless, Romney did offer new details about how he would prefer to handle the looming so-called "fiscal cliff," the cocktail of automatic tax hikes and spending cuts -- particularly to the defense budget -- set to snap into place on Jan. 1 barring action by Congress.

Romney, who's criticized President Obama for making cuts to defense spending, said in particular that Congress must delay the onset of the automatic defense cuts, which were included as part of last August's agreement to approve an increase in the debt ceiling. The defense cuts were inserted as an incentive for lawmakers to reach an overarching deal on fiscal reform, since the cuts were viewed as so distasteful of an alternative.

"This sequestration related to defense spending, in particular, has to be put off," Romney said.

The presidential campaign resumed more traditional form on Monday after taking a break for most of the weekend in mourning of victims in last Friday's mass shooting at a Colorado movie theater. Romney argued that it would be wrong to invoke politics, as they relate to gun control, so soon after the massacre. But he did defend the assault weapons ban he signed as governor, calling it a bipartisan compromise that expanded some gun rights, too.

"Well, actually the law that we signed in Massachusetts was a combination of efforts both on the part of those that were for additional gun rights and those that opposed gun rights, and they came together and made some changes that provided, I think, a better environment for both, and that's why both sides came to celebrate the signing of the bill," he said. "Where there are opportunities for people of reasonable minds to come together and find common ground, that's the kind of legislation I like."

Kudlow's full interview with Romney airs at 7 p.m. ET on CNBC.