I'll state the obvious right up front, I like Mitt Romney for President. But Tristi Pinkston asked me to create a single blog for each 2008 Presidential Candidate and so I am going do so with the top five candidates and I promise to be completely fair about each one.
I have selected eight issues which are critical to me and will pull from each candidate's websites, press releases, public quotes and newspapers for their official stances.
Beginning with Mitt Romney, let me tell you a little bit about him:
"W. Mitt Romney is the former Governor of Massachusetts. His influential father was thrice elected Governor of Michigan, and was appointed Secretary of Housing and Urban Development in the Richard M. Nixon administration. Romney had a pampered upbringing, attending the Cranbrook Schools in Bloomfield Hills. The Romneys are devoutly Mormon, and he went on to Brigham Young University before matriculating at Harvard Business School and then Harvard Law School.
"In 1984, Romney founded Bain Capital, an investment company that quickly came to own hundreds of other companies, including Staples, Domino's Pizza, Bright Horizons Childcare, Sealy, FTD Florists, Brookstone, and The Sports Authority. Romney's claim to national fame came in 1999, when an inquiry into corruption found that the two top officials who led Salt Lake City's "bid" for the 2002 Winter Olympics had actually paid bribes of more than $1 million to 24 members of the International Olympic Committee. Organizers were embarrassed by the scandal, but terrified by hints that corporate sponsors might reduce their financial commitments.
"Romney was the Salt Lake City Olympics' savior. As the event's CEO, he brought in new, stricter policies on ethical behavior (like having some) and, after the unfortunate events of September 11, Romney instituted what some people considered to be draconian security measures for the event. Even so, millions of tickets were sold, millions more watched on TV, and the athletic competition and clearly rigged judging were memorable. (My comment here: Salt Lake City actually made money on these Olympics, which is a rare occurrence in the event.)
"As a businessman, Romney knows how and when to capitalize his assets, and in the Olympics afterglow he quickly announced his candidacy for Governor of Massachusetts. With no prior experience holding political office, Romney won handily. He is Massachusetts' fourth Republican Governor in a row, somewhat surprising for a state where only 13% of voters are registered as Republicans. The growing line of Republican Governors may be Michael Dukakis's lasting legacy, as the state's last Democrat Governor.
"Romney is running for the 2008 Republican Presidential nomination -- never mind that 17% of Americans would refuse to vote for any Mormon candidate. Still, to appeal to conservatives, he has taken a hard stance on gay marriage, by a quirk legalized in his state by a judicial action of the state supreme court. In response he activated a long-inactive law aimed at interracial marriage, which forbids nonresidents to marry in Massachusetts if it is illegal for them to marry in their home states. He called for gun control legislation when he ran for the Senate in 1994, but in 2006 he joined the National Rifle Association.
"Romney's wife, Ann, has multiple sclerosis, which she treats with holistic measures including reflexology, accupressure, accupuncture, deep-breathing exercises, and yoga. She says she's "a true believer in alternative medicine". This does not stop Mitt Romney from opposing embryonic stem cell research." (Bio located here.)
Abortion: In the Concord Monitor I found some quotes regarding Mitt Romney's stance on abortion and why it had changed from pro-choice to pro-life.
"Gov. Mitt Romney - who has recently toughened his stance against abortion and same-sex marriage - tested his views on a New Hampshire audience yesterday. Despite the rightward shift, which has prompted charges of political opportunism, many of those who attended the holiday party were ready to embrace the new Mitt Romney, who is weighing a run for the White House.
"I think people can have a change of heart," said Chris Buonopane of Deerfield. "I think he'd be great. The country needs to return to our core values," which Buonopane described as "family values" and "life values."
"When running for statewide office in Massachusetts, Romney voiced support for "the substance" of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that recognized a constitutional right to an abortion. He said he would support measures to expand access to emergency contraception, according to the abortion rights group Planned Parenthood. But since becoming governor of Massachusetts in 2002, Romney has grown increasingly opposed to abortion. Last year, he declared himself pro-life."
"Yesterday, Romney repeated what has become an oft-cited account of his evolution. Two years ago, he met with "a couple of individuals" about stem cell research. One of those individuals, according to Romney, said "Governor, there's not really a moral issue here because we destroy the embryos at 14 days."
"It just hit me at that point that we had so cheapened the value of human life in this country that we were going down a very dangerous road," Romney said. "I somehow imagined trays of embryos growing and being experimented upon, and then killed or destroyed." From that moment on, Romney said, he considered himself pro-life."Summary: Mitt Romney made a very courageous decision when he changed his view on abortion. There are many today who ridicule him for that, saying he changes with the wind during election years. Romney has explained his change of stance on abortion many times. I like a man who can admit he's made a mistake and is not afraid to rectify it. Hear this in Mitt's own words by clicking here.
Budget and Economy: A Press Release issued on May 16, 2007 stated: "Today, Governor Mitt Romney issued the following statement on the Congressional Democrats' proposed $2.9 trillion budget and the need for strong fiscal benchmarks in Washington:
"Today, Democrats in Congress have agreed on a plan that balances the budget on the backs of hard-working American taxpayers. Only liberals in Washington would think that fiscal responsibility means billions of dollars in new taxes and new revenue for government. Instead, we need to balance our budget by making Washington adhere to strong fiscal benchmarks. These benchmarks include capping spending, lowering taxes, giving the President line-item veto authority and reducing government waste.
"Fiscal responsibility in Washington should never come at the expense of the American people. We must bring conservative change to Washington and force government to live within its means."
Summary: Romney has proven his fiscal responsibility and understanding of budget management numerous times. Two recent examples would be the 2002 Winter and his balancing of the Massachusetts state budget. When he says he can do the job, he's proven just that.
Education: "Today's schools are falling further and further behind world standards. It is time to raise the bar on education by making teaching a true profession, measuring progress, providing a focus on math and science, and involving parents from the beginning of a child's school career."
"We cannot continue to have an excellence gap with the rest of the world and intend to remain the economic superpower and military superpower of the planet. That's just not going to happen," Romney said. "We're in a position where unless we take action, we'll end up being the France of the 21st century: a lot of talk, but not a lot of strength behind it in terms of economic capability." - Governor Romney, AP, November 16, 2005
Summary: It is apparent that Mitt Romney believes education is critical to the success of every child. It yet remains to be seen on how he plans to accomplish that. Hear Mitt's stance on education in own words by clicking here.
Energy and Oil: "We must become independent from foreign sources of oil. This will mean a combination of efforts related to conservation and efficiency measures, developing alternative sources of energy like biodiesel, ethanol, nuclear, and coal gasification, and finding more domestic sources of oil such as in ANWR or the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS)."
Summary: Mitt Romney no longer wants to be dependent on foreign oil. Hallelujah! He will support all efforts toward changing that status. Here's hoping he can gain control of the EPA before they send this nation back to the pre-industrial state of life. Hear this in Mitt's own words by clicking here.
Illegal Immigration: "Immigration has been an important part of our nation's success. The current system, however, puts up a concrete wall to the best and brightest, yet those without skill or education are able to walk across the border. We must reform the current immigration laws so we can secure our borders, implement a mandatory biometrically enabled, tamper proof documentation and employment verification system, and increase legal immigration into America."
"We need to make America more attractive for legal immigrants -- for citizens -- and less attractive for illegal immigrants. I want to see more immigration in our country, but more legal immigration and less illegal immigration." - Governor Romney, (AP, June 23, 2006)
Summary: Mitt Romney wants to attract bright legal immigrant candidates and eradicate the possibility of illegal immigration. In addition, he wants a foolproof method of verifying legal citizenship of potential employees for employers. Hear this in Mitt's own words by clicking here.
Right to Keep and Bear Arms: Senator Larry Craig wrote of Mitt Romney's stance on the 2nd Amendment in the Idaho State Journal: "
"I support [Mitt Romney] him because he is someone who has a record of standing up for the rights of ordinary Americans – people who are starting a business, looking for a job, building a family, and enjoying the freedoms guaranteed to them by the U.S. Constitution.
"Those freedoms are under constant attack, and perhaps none is more threatened than the rights guaranteed to us by the Second Amendment: The right to bear arms.
"Romney understands that this right can be abridged in multiple ways – gun laws can be written poorly, giving desk-based bureaucrats the ability to take away a gun license from a law-abiding individual . . . How do I know Romney understands these things? Because I've studied his record – and it's impressive. As governor, he took real, meaningful steps to affirm our right to bear arms.
"Romney has shown that he is willing to confront the jumble of state gun laws in Boston – and if he can do that with an 85 percent Democratic legislature in one of the most liberal states in the country, think what he could do in Washington with a more supportive base in Congress.
"In 2004, Romney signed a sweeping reform of Massachusetts' gun laws that made the state's gun laws far less onerous for sportsmen . . . And then in 2005, Romney supported and signed into law legislation that clarified the definition of a loaded muzzleloader, so that hunters would understand exactly the safety precautions expected of them."
Tax Reform: "America's tax code is a labyrinth that imposes an enormous and unnecessary burden on our citizens and employers. Keeping taxes low and simplifying the code will grow the economy and enhance our competitiveness."
Summary: Mitt Romney proved as governor of Massachusetts that he could take a failing budget and turn it around to a surplus without raising taxes. He is a brilliant businessman who has proven time and time again that he can turn failures into successes. This is something he will also accomplish with the United States of America. A balanced budget, a surplus in the coffers and less of a burden on the American taxpayer. Hear this in Mitt's own words by clicking here.
War on Terror: "The defeat of this radical and violent faction of Islam must be achieved through a combination of American resolve, international effort, and the rejection of violence by moderate, modern, mainstream Muslims. An effective strategy will involve both military and diplomatic actions to support modern Muslim nations. America must help lead a broad-based international coalition that promotes secular education, modern financial and economic policies, international trade, and human rights."
"Romney wants the public to know that Jihadists are not an 'armed group of crazed maniacs in the hills of Afghanistan.' Rather, Romney says the United States is facing a 'far more sinister and broad-based extremist faction' with a 'very 8th century view of the world.'" - Governor Romney, (ABC News, April 30, 2006)
Summary: Mitt Romney believes that American resolve, international effort, and the rejection of violence by moderate, modern, mainstream Muslims, as a triumvirate, are what will win the War on Terror. Hear this in Mitt's own words by clicking here.
This is just a brief blog on Mitt Romney. To learn more about him Mitt and his presidential campaign go to his official website.
Come back every Monday for the next four weeks for synopses on 2008 Presidential Candiates Rudy Giuliani, Fred Thompson, Barak Obama and Hilary Clinton.