Mitt Romney's Political Views
Mitt Romney Biography
The unsuccessful Republican nominee for President in 2012 (along with Vice Presidential nominee Paul Ryan), Mitt Romney ends a long career in the public eye with a close election. The son of former Michigan governor and American Motors Company CEO George Romney, Mitt's ascension to the nomination marked the culmination of a long career that began with his work as a consultant and founder of private equity firm Bain Capital in the early 1980s, continued with his time as head of the Salt Lake City Olympics (1999-2002) and Massachusetts governor (2003-2007), and persevered through his unsuccessful run for the Republican Presidential nomination in 2008. Recently, Romney has been back in the news for his criticism of GOP Presidential candidate Donald Trump, and some have even suggested that Romney could end up being the eventual nominee if no candidate reaches a majority of delegates after the primaries and caucuses are over.
Now that the election is over, many have wondered what Romney's political positions were, especially considering the amount of criticism he has received for the ways in which his political views have evolved over his ten year political career.This hub will attempt to cut through the political rhetoric to look at Romney's stated political positions on the key issues that determined the 2012 Presidential election. In cases where Romney has made conflicting and/or ambiguous statements about an issue in recent years, it will present both positions, allowing voters to decide for themselves what Romney believed.
Romney on the Issues
1. Romney on Health Care: Romney has made strong statements against the Health Care Reform bill passed by Congress and signed by President Obama in 2009, stating that "American has witnessed an unconscionable abuse of power." During the campaign for the Republican nomination, Romney has repeatedly expressed support for repealing the bill, stating in December 2011, "If I'm President, we're going to get rid of ObamaCare and return, under our Constitution--the 10th Amendment--the responsibility of health care to the people in the states." However, as governor of Massachusetts, Romney passed a bill that was largely similar to the national model ultimately included in the health care bill passed by Congress in 2009. Indeed, in 2009, Romney stated that "We need to advance a conservative plan--one based on free choice, personal responsibility, and private medicine; one that doesn't add massive new federal spending. I like what I proposed in Massachusetts when I was governor..." while speaking to the Conservative Political Action Conference. Romney has clarified this past support by suggesting that the Massachusetts model may not be appropriate for every state.
2. Romney on Taxes: Romney supports eliminating the estate tax (currently applied only to those inheriting more than $3.5 million) and eliminating all capital gains taxes for those who earn less than $200,000 a year. Romney has proposed a balance budget amendment requiring Congress to submit a balanced budget each fiscal year to help contain the current budget deficit. In early 2009, Romney came out against the stimulus bill passed by Congress and signed by President Obama, calling for increased tax cuts over increased spending. Romney also strong endorsed the plan put forward by Congressman Paul Ryan in early 2012 that proposes to solve the budget deficit by cutting nearly $5.3 trillion in federal spending while simultaneously slashing tax rates for Americans earning over $150,000 a year, calling it "simply marvelous" and a "bold and exciting effort" in March, 2012. In September, 2012, video surfaced of Mitt Romney telling a crowd at a fundraiser: "There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it -- that that's an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what. ... These are people who pay no income tax. ... [M]y job is not to worry about those people. I'll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives."
3. Romney on Foreign Policy: In March of 2010, Romney expressed support for President Obama's decision to increase troop levels in Afghanistan, calling it "the right course to take." During the 2008 presidential campaign, Romney repeatedly called for no fixed timetable for a withdrawal from Iraq, and expressed support for the Bush administration's decision to invade Iraq in 2002. Throughout most of the presidential campaign, Romney has criticized the President's policy towards Iran, and has said that if elected President, he would "take every measure necessary to check the evil regime of the ayatollahs" and "buttress my diplomacy with a military option that will persuade the ayatollahs to abandon their nuclear ambitions." It is unclear how this differs from President Obama's policy, as the President stated in a recent interview "all options are on the table," and that the final option is the "military component."
4. Romney on Education: Romney is a supporter of the No Child Left Behind program started under the Bush administration. Romney generally supports increased funding of charter schools and school voucher programs. He is also a strong supporter of abstinence education in schools.
5. Romney on Gun Control: Romney is a relative moderate on most gun issues as compared with many other Republicans, signing a ban on assault weapons as governor of Massachusetts in 2004. Romney received a B rating from the NRA while running for President in 2008, indicating a pro-gun stance on most issues. Romney's views on guns have shifted over time, in 1994, he stated "I don't line up with the NRA" in defending his support for the Brady Bill, which imposed a five-day waiting period on gun sales and a ban on semi-automatic rifles. However, Romney joined the NRA in 2008, and has since called himself a "lifelong" hunter of "small varmints."
6. Romney on Social Issues: Romney has generally drifted to the right on social issues in recent years. He came out strongly against the Obama administration's decision to mandate that employers (including religious organizations) provide birth control coverage to employees who wanted it, stating in February 2012, "I don't think we've seen in the history of this country the kind of attack on religious conscience, religious freedom, religious tolerance that we've seen under Barack Obama." In recent years, Romney has spoken out against abortion and called for overturning Roe vs. Wade, however, while governor of Massachusetts, Romney repeatedly described himself as pro-choice. He explained the evolution of his beliefs on abortion in an interview with the Des Moines Register in 2007, stating, "I was effectively pro-choice when I ran for office. When I became governor of Massachusetts, the first time a bill came to my life that dealt with life, I simply could not side with--with taking a life, and I came on the side of life. Every bill that came to my desk, every issue that related to protecting the sanctity of life, I came down on the side of life." Romney also has expressed opposition to gay marriage, stating "I believe we should have a federal amendment in the constitution that defines marriage as a relationship between a man and woman, because I believe the ideal place to raise a child is in a home with a mom and a dad." He reiterated this opposition to gay marriage after President Obama offered support for gay rights in May 2012, stating "I believe marriage is a relationship between a man and a woman."
7. Romney on Disaster Relief. In one of the GOP presidential debates in June, 2011, Romney responded to a question about whether FEMA (the federal agency in charge of disaster recovery) should be shuttered by stating "Absolutely...Every time you have an occasion to take something from the federal government and send it back to the states, that's the right direction. And if you can go even further, and send it back to the private sector, that's even better. Instead of thinking, in the federal budget, what we should cut, we should ask the opposite question, what should we keep?" This statements seems to suggest that Romney is in favor of closing FEMA and making the private sector responsible for disaster recovery, however, in the wake of Hurricane Sandy in the fall of 2012, Romney has clarified his position. As one of his campaign staff told reporters: "Gov. Romney believes that states should be in charge of emergency management in responding to storms and other natural disasters in their jurisdictions."
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