Representative Billy Long (R-MO) stopped by TheBlaze newsroom this week for an interview with senior contributor Mallory Factor, where the two discussed everything from free trade to the presidential campaign.
"You consider yourself a conservative," Factor addressed the congressman, "[but] you started supporting Mitt Romney after Iowa."
At the time, Romney was often considered to be less conservative than Bachmann or Santorum, but the congressman said "the writing was on the wall" for the other candidates and he was impressed by Governor Romney.
Rep. Long told Factor one story in particular about how the eventual Republican nominee tackled issues during his time as governor:
They were drowning in red ink, just like we are in Washington today. He said, 'Bring me every agency, I want to look at the books.' When he got to the homeless, folks told him, 'Oh, you can't look at the homeless, governor. They'll have your hide, they'll run you out of town.' He said, 'I'm not going to hurt the homeless, I want to look at the books.'
Long story short, they were renting thousands and thousands of nights in hotel rooms, millions and millions of dollars for hotel rental for their homeless. And [Romney] said, 'Well how does that work? What are we doing with all these hotel rooms on the books?' They said, well you come to the homeless shelter and we're full, we send you to the hotel.'
He said, 'Really...here's what we do. Next time somebody comes to the homeless shelter, I want them to stay in the shelter that night. I want you to go into the shelter and find...whoever spent the most time in our shelter...You send them to the hotel that night, they'll have cable T.V. and air conditioning, and we'll have room for you.'
According to Long, just because of that "common sense solution" that eliminated free hotel rooms for anyone who wanted one, they rented almost no rooms the next year, and were still able to provide for their homeless.
After a discussion of free trade-- which the congressman is a staunch proponent of-- Factor turned to the issue of healthcare: "You are one of the most conservative guys out there, and you've done a great job, but why haven't you really achieved anything about getting rid of ObamaCare, or some of these other issues that you really ran on?"
Long replied that, while they have succeeded in preventing any massive spending bills like the stimulus package from being initiated, "you realize that when you don't have the Senate, you don't have the White House, you don't have a whole lot."
Moreover, Long also believes the president's health care overhaul "will come unraveled" one way or another because of its intrinsic flaws-- unlike many on the right who point to countless "temporary" government agencies still in effect decades later.
Long explained: "ObamaCare will come unraveled either on November 6 when we elect Mitt Romney president, and if for some reason he's not elected president, I think it'll die of its own volition, I think it'll come unwound."
Long also spent some time discussing the most controversial political story out of the congressman's home state in recent months-- Rep. Todd Akin's "legitimate rape" remarks.
Though the congressman endorses Akin based on his conservative record, he was quick to say the remarks were "egregious" and that he doesn't associate himself with them in any way.
Rep. Long summarized: "I think that if people would've stayed out of it, it would've been dead in about 72 hours. But instead of that a bunch of people jumped in [and] asked him to get out of the race-- which I didn't really think was their place-- and just made a big national news story out of it."
Watch video of Rep. Billy Long's interview with Mallory Factor, below (Romney story around 3:48):