WASHINGTON -- Mitt Romney said Sunday that as president he would work on a long-term plan to clarify the status of young illegal immigrants who grew up in the US, criticizing the policy change announced by President Barack Obama as a politically motivated stopgap measure.
During a rare sit-down on CBS' "Face the Nation," Romney indicated that he has no plans to immediately repeal Obama's executive order when he takes office, although he also did not rule out that option.
"We'll look at that setting as we reach that, but my anticipation is I'd come into office and say we need to get this done, on a long-term basis, not this kind of stop-gap measure," he said.
Romney noted that he has previously said he would give permanent residency to young immigrants who serve in the military. The candidate, however, has said he opposes the Dream Act, which would have offered some undocumented young people a path to citizenship.
Romney said he believed politics played a "big part" in the president's decision to stop deportations of many young illegal immigrants, which was announced Friday.
"I think the timing is pretty clear," Romney said. "If he really wanted to make a solution that dealt with these kids or with illegal immigration in America, then this is something he would have taken up in his first three and a half years, not in his last few months."
Romney also addressed the financial crisis in the eurozone, which was in the headlines Sunday as Greece held key elections that will help determine its fate inside the eurozone.
"We're not going to send checks to Europe. We're not going to bail out the European banks," Romney said. The candidate said he believes the US banks are strong enough to "weather the storm," regardless of what happens overseas.
The former Massachusetts governor said the answer to improving the US economy is cutting spending, rather than raising taxes. He said he does not want to reduce or increase the tax burden on wealthy Americans.
"I'm not looking for a tax cut for the very wealthiest, I'm looking to bring tax rates down for everyone and also to make sure that we stimulate growth by doing so and jobs," Romney said, adding, "I'm looking to keep the burden paid by the wealthiest as the same share that it is today."
On a more personal note, Romney said his wife is looking forward to the London Olympics, where her horse and trainer will compete with the US dressage team.
"She's quite thrilled and I'm sure she'll be watching, Romney said. He added that he will not have as much time to focus on the competitions. "I have a campaign to attend to," he said.