- Political positions of Mitt Romney
The political positions of
Mitt Romneyhave developed over the course of his life, both in observing his father George W. Romneyin public office, and pursuing his own political ambitions.Fact|date=July 2008 Though there have been some widely publicized contradictions in his political beliefs over time (notably statements regarding abortion and gay rights), most of Romney's positions have remained constant.Fact|date=July 2008
When Romney was elected
Governor of Massachusetts, he began to espouse a noticeably more conservative point of view, especially on social issues.Fact|date=July 2008 That shift continued when he ran for president in 2008, causing many conservative talk show hosts, pundits and voters to rally around him as the only true conservative in the race for president, though he is often labeled by his opponents as a flip-flopperfor numerous shifts in his policy opinion.Fact|date=July 2008
During his run for president, Romney has declared that he thinks
abortionshould be illegal except in cases of rape, incest, and when the life of the mother is threatened.] He also criticized the Supreme Court decision in " Roe v. Wade."Romney's spokesperson has indicated that had Romney been the governor of South Dakota, he would have signed into law the controversial law banning abortion, but he would include exceptions for cases of incest or rape, which the South Dakota law excludes. 
When Romney ran against Senator
Ted Kennedyin 1994, his advisor Charles Manning told the "Boston Herald" that there were only "tiny nuances" of difference between Kennedy's and Romney's views on abortion.] In a 1994 debate with Senator Kennedy, Romney said that abortion should be legal, declaring that "regardless of one's beliefs about choice, you would hope it would be safe and legal."] Ebbert, Stephanie. [http://www.boston.com/news/local/articles/2005/07/03/clarity_sought_on_romneys_abortion_stance/?page=full Clarity sought on Romney's abortion stance] "The Boston Globe," July 3, 2005. Retrieved February 28, 2007.] Romney said in a debate with Kennedy, in response to the question "If abortion is morally wrong, aren't you responsible for discouraging it?":
One of the great things about our nation... is that we're each entitled to have strong personal beliefs, and we encourage other people to do the same. But as a nation, we recognize the right of all people to believe as they want and not to impose our beliefs on other people. I believe that abortion should be safe and legal in this country. I have since the time that my mom took that position when she ran in 1970 as a US Senate candidate. I believe that since "Roe v. Wade" has been the law for 20 years, that we should sustain and support it, and I sustain and support that law, and the right of a woman to make that choice, and my personal beliefs, like the personal beliefs of other people, should not be brought into a political campaign."]
When Kennedy then accused him of being "multiple-choice", Romney replied:
"On the accusation of being 'multiple-choice', I have to respond. I have my own beliefs, and those beliefs are very dear to me. One of them is that I do not impose my beliefs on other people. Many, many years ago, I had a dear, close family relative that was very close to me who passed away from an illegal abortion. It is since that time my mother and my family have been committed to the belief that we can believe as we want, but we will not force our beliefs on others on that matter. And you will not see me wavering on that, or being multiple-choice, thank you very much."
During the 2002 governor's race, Romney's platform stated, "As Governor, Mitt Romney would protect the current pro-choice status quo in Massachusetts. No law would change. The choice to have an abortion is a deeply personal one. Women should be free to choose based on their own beliefs, not the government's."] [ [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P_w9pquznG4&eurl=http%3A%2F%2Fezraklein%2Etypepad%2Ecom%2Fblog%2F2007%2F02%2Fthe%5Fend%5Fof%5Fromn%2Ehtml Romney on Abortion - 2002] Guvernorial Debate, 2002] In that campaign for governor, Romney received the endorsement of Massachusetts Republican Pro-Choice Coalition.Ebbert, Stephanie. [http://www.boston.com/news/local/articles/2005/07/03/clarity_sought_on_romneys_abortion_stance/?page=full Clarity sought on Romney's abortion stance] "The Boston Globe,"
July 3, 2005. Retrieved February 28, 2007.]
Romney has said his views on abortion were drastically altered on
November 9, 2004after discussing stem cell research with Douglas Melton, a stem cell researcher at Harvard University. The Harvard Stem Cell Institute was planning research that would have involved therapeutic cloning.cite news |url=http://www.spectator.org/dsp_article.asp?art_id=7798 |title=Mitt Romney's Choice |author=Antle, W. James III |date= 2005-02-23|publisher= The American Spectator|accessdate=2007-05-20] According to Romney, Melton declared that the research "is not a moral issue because we kill the embryos at 14 days." "I looked over at Beth Myers, my chief of staff, and we both had exactly the same reaction, which is it just hit us hard," recalled Romney. "And as they walked out, I said, 'Beth, we have cheapened the sanctity of life by virtue of the "Roe v. Wade" mentality.'"] Melton disputes Romney's account of the meeting, declaring "Governor Romney has mischaracterized my position; we didn't discuss killing or anything related to it.... I explained my work to him, told him about my deeply held respect for life, and explained that my work focuses on improving the lives of those suffering from debilitating diseases."] In a press conference video in May 2005 however, Romney when asked about Massachusetts abortion laws said "I have indicated that as governor, I am absolutely committed to my promise to maintain the status quo with regards to laws relating to abortion and choice, and so far I've been able to successfully do that," indicating that the governor continued to hold a pro-choice position post-November 2004.  On January 29th, 2007, in a visit to South Carolina, Romney stated, "Over the last multiple years, as you know, I have been effectively pro-choice, I never called myself that as a label but I was effectively pro-choice and that followed a personal experience in my extended family that led to that conclusion." Romney continued saying every decision he made as governor, "in a very liberal state has been on the side of favoring life, I am firmly pro-life." [ [http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2007/01/29/romney_campaigns_in_sc_with_sen_demint/ Romney campaigns in SC with Sen. DeMint] By Bruce Smith, Associated Press Writer. January 29, 2007. Retrieved June 23, 2007]
Romney's current stance, as described on his campaign Web site, effectively calls for a repeal of "Roe v. Wade", saying that "the states, through the democratic process, should determine their own abortion laws and not have them dictated by judicial mandate."] Romney reasserted this stance at the second Republican Presidential debate in
South Carolina, stating that "Roe v. Wade" has gone to such an extent that we've cheapened the value of human life." He followed by saying "the people should make [the abortion] decision, not the court."] ABC News reported that Romney supports the pro-life plank of the GOP platform, which means he would support establishing legal personhood for all unborn children in all 50 states. [ [http://www.abcnews.go.com/Politics/story?id=3453601&page=1] ]
Governor of Massachusetts, Romney announced plans to file a death penaltybill in early 2005. The bill, filed April 28 2005, sought to reinstate the death penalty in cases that include terrorism, the assassination of law enforcement officials and multiple killings. Romney's legislation required the presence of scientific evidence such as DNAto sentence someone to death and a tougher standard of "no doubt" of guilt for juries to sentence defendants. This differs from the "beyond a reasonable doubt" standard used in traditional criminal cases. The legislation called for a pool of certified capital case lawyers to ensure proper representation for the accused and allowed jurors who do not personally support the death penalty to serve in the guilt phase of the trial. [Lewis, Raphael. [http://www.boston.com/news/local/articles/2005/04/29/romney_files_death_penalty_bill/ "Romney files death penalty bill, Measure sets out tight restrictions”] "Boston Globe", April 29, 2005. Retrieved December 11, 2006.] The bill was defeated in the Massachusetts House of Representativesby a vote of 100-53. [ [http://www.boston.com/news/local/articles/2005/11/16/death_penalty_bill_fails_in_house/ Death penalty bill fails in house] Boston.com, Nov. 16, 2005]
Romney was against reviving the
Fairness Doctrine, which restricted broadcasters to present controversial topics in what the Federal Communications Commissiondeemed a balanced, fair manner. Romney said, "I'd veto it if it ever got to my desk. And I would fight against it vehemently. The effort to try to impose the Fairness Doctrine on radio stations is, if you will, censorship Democrat style. It basically says we're not going to let you keep talking about the things you want to talk about and the market wants to hear." [ [http://www.mittromney.com/News/Press-Releases/Governor_Mitt_Romney_Welcomes_The_Supreme_Court_Campaign_Finance_Ruling Governor Mitt Romney Welcomes The Supreme Court Campaign Finance Ruling] MittRomney.com, June 25, 2007]
As president, Governor Romney said he would propose a "One-Strike, You're Ours" law for child sex offenders convicted of using the Internet to prey on children. This would cause newer, tougher federal penalties for first-time sexual offenders who used the Internet to assault children, which would include considerable mandatory jail time and lifetime tracking by GPS. It would impose the same sentence that states such as Florida and California have put in place with "
Jessica's Law". Governor Romney would also require stricter enforcement of federal obscenity laws, which he says "have not been adequately enforced". He has also said he would punish and fine retailers for selling sexually explicit and excessively violent video games to minors. [ [http://www.mittromney.com/News/Press-Releases/Policy_Briefing_Protecting_Our_Children:sc=SHQ049?cid=RWIR0720 Policy Briefing: Protecting Our Children] MittRomney.com, July 19, 2007]
During his 2007 Iowa Republican Straw Poll speech, Romney stated "I want to make sure that every computer that goes into a home in the future [has the ability] for the citizen, the parent, to be able to block all that pornography from their kid's internet screen." [citenews|url=http://www.c-spanarchives.org/library/index.php?main_page=product_video_info&products_id=200399-1&tID=5 |work=CSPAN|title=Mitt Romney Iowa Straw Poll Speech |date=2007-11-08]
Romney currently supports the federal government's involvement in education and supports
No Child Left Behind. He said that he supports testing in schools and that testing "allows us to get better schools."] Romney also approved efforts in Massachusetts to require parents in poorly performing schools to attend parental education classes and awarding four-year scholarships to the best students. He also said he "favors giving all sixth-graders a laptop and paying bonuses to teachers who successfully teach science and math".  In his 1994 run for the Senate, Romney supported abolishing the Department of Education but has since renounced that. In the second presidential debate in South Carolina, he said,
I've taken a position where, once upon a time, I said I wanted to eliminate the Department of Education. That was my position when I ran for Senate in 1994. That's very popular with the base. As I've been a governor and seen the impact that the federal government can have holding down the interest of the teachers' unions and instead putting the interests of the kids and the parents and the teachers first, I see that the Department of Education can actually make a difference.]
In 1994 Romney, as a candidate for U.S. Senate, pledged to vote to establish a means-tested school voucher program to allow students to attend the public or private school of their choice. (Boston Globe review of 1994 campaign issues
Romney has stated that superintendents and principals should be able to fire teachers without regard for seniority.  He also has stated that he is in favor of standardized testing as a high school graduation requirement and alternative education options for parents and students. He has declared his support for
charter schools, school vouchers and home schooling. [citenews | first=Maria | last=Sacchetti | coauthors= | title= Romney plan would greatly boost charter schools |date= February 1, 2005| publisher= | url=http://www.boston.com/news/local/articles/2005/02/01/romney_plan_would_greatly_boost_charter_schools/ | work=Boston Globe | pages= | accessdate = 2007-04-20 | language = ] Romney has said that good education is needed to compete in the global economy. [ http://www.mittromney.com/Issue-Watch/Education ]
Romney has said that science-based sex education has no place in kindergarten. [cite web | last = Brody | first = David | title = "Kindergarten Cop: Romney Versus Obama" | work = The Brody File | publisher = Christian Broadcasting Network | date = 2007-07-19 | url = http://www.cbn.com/CBNnews/198676.aspx | accessdate = 2007-08-03 ] According to Romney, "the amount of sex education which is appropriate in kindergarten is absolutely zero." 
Romney has declared his support for abstinence education in public schools. In his run for the Senate in 1994, he said one of the programs that should be taught in schools was "the importance of getting married before having children." Joe Battenfield,
Boston Herald, August 1, 1994]
In the May 2007 South Carolina debate, Romney said he has always "fought for abstinence education". [http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/15/us/politics/16repubs-text.html?pagewanted=all Republican Presidential Debate in South Carolina] ,
The New York Times, May 15, 2007]
Prayer in schools
In 1994, Romney said that he has been consistently against public schools endorsing one religion or faith that may alienate other students. He said that "local school districts should have complete control over the programs, but that they could not endorse specific religious beliefs or prayer in schools"
In 2007, he said, "We ought to allow ceremonies, graduation ceremonies and public events that we have the ability to recognize the Creator." [Erin McPike, [http://hotlineblog.nationaljournal.com/archives/2007/12/romney_prayer_i.html Romney: Prayer in School Is A-Ok, Sometimes] NBC, December 14, 2007]
Romney wants to become independent of foreign sources of oil, and believes that the way to do that is a combination of developing alternative sources of energy such as
biodiesel, ethanol, nuclear, and coal gasification, and finding more domestic sources of oil such as in Arctic National Wildlife Refuge(ANWR) and the Outer Continental Shelf. [ [http://www.mittromney.com/Issue-Watch/Energy Issues - Energy Issues] MittRomney.com]
"We're using too much oil," Romney said. "We have an answer. We can use alternative sources of energy -- biodiesel, ethanol, nuclear power -- and we can drill for more oil here. We can be more energy independent and we can be far more efficient in the use of that energy." [
Waterloo Courier, September 29, 2006]
Mitt Romney has not published a formal
energy policy of the United States, but his 2008 Presidential Campaign website has a 2-minute video of his response to a question about his energy policy position. [http://www.mittromney.com/Issue-Watch/Energy]
He would consider
cap-and-tradeonly if part of a larger global plan. He has not offered specific targets on energy efficiency. He does not support mileage goals as a stand-alone measure, but has indicated he would consider them only if they were part of a comprehensive energy plan. He supports nuclear poweras part of an energy mix. [ [http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1680173,00.html Kluger, Jeffrey; "The Eco Vote"; "Time" magazine; November 2, 2007.] ]
Romney has said that "If the choice is between dirty power plants or protecting the health of the people of Massachusetts... I will always come down on the side of public health." [http://myclob.pbwiki.com/02-06-2003 "ROMNEY, HEALEY ENFORCE POWER PLANT REGULATIONS"] The Commonwealth of Massachusetts Executive Department Press Release transcript of February 6, 2003; retrieved November 5, 2006.] Insisting that a coal power plant meet tough emissions standards even at the cost of losing jobs, Romney announced "I will not protect jobs that kill people. And that plant kills people." [ [http://www.sierraclub.org/planet/200302/clean_air_act.asp sierra club 2003] ]
Romney supports regulation of greenhouse gas emissions, primarily through voluntary measures. He issued a 72-point Climate Protection Plan. His staffers spent more than $500,000 negotiating the
Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative(RGGI--pronounced "Reggie"), which Romney praised in November 2005, saying "I'm convinced it is good business." As plan details were being worked out, Romney began pushing for a cap on fees charged to businesses who exceed emission limits, citing concerns of increased consumer energy costs. He stated: "New England has the highest energy rates in the country, and RGGI would cost us more." This ongoing disagreement eventually led Romney, in December, 2005, to pull out of RGGI.
In 2003, Romney appointed environmental advocate
Douglas I. Foy(former president of the Conservation Law Foundation) to head the state development office. Foy resigned in February 2006 after Romney announced he would not seek re-election.
Romney opposes the
Cape Windoffshore Cape Codwind farm proposal [cite web | url=http://www.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2006/04/27/kennedy_faces_fight_on_cape_wind/ | title=Kennedy faces fight on Cape Wind | last=Klein | first=Rick | publisher= " The Boston Globe" | date= April 27, 2006| accessdate=2008-01-27] because of its visual detriment to Nantucket, saying that Nantucket "is a critical location for the state, and placing wind turbines there would be detrimental."Fact|date=June 2007 Romney also supports drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. [ http://ontheissues.org/2008/Mitt_Romney_Energy_+_Oil.htm]
Mitt Romney has said that strong families are one of his three pillars, along with military and economy, for a strong America. [cite news|url=http://www.c-spanarchives.org/library/index.php?main_page=product_video_info&products_id=200399-1&tID=5 |work=CSPAN|title=Mitt Romney Iowa Straw Poll Speech |date=2007-11-08]
Romney's campaign website has featured his quote, "America cannot continue to lead the family of nations around the world if we suffer the collapse of the family here at home." [ http://www.mittromney.com/Issue-Watch/Values]
Romney has said "I support the right of individuals to keep and bear arms as guaranteed under the U.S. Constitution", [ http://www.newsmax.com/archives/ic/2007/1/13/131410.shtml] though in past campaigns he has described himself as a proponent of gun control, and he fully supports a ban on assault weapons.
For Romney's 1994 US Senate campaign, he supported the
Brady Bill, which imposed a five-day waiting period on gun sales, and a ban on particular semi-automatic rifles.In a 2002 debate during Romney's campaign for governor of Massachusetts, Romney said: "We do have tough gun laws in Massachusetts; I support them. I won't chip away at them; I believe they protect us and provide for our safety."Scot Lehigh. [http://www.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2007/01/19/romney_vs_romney/ Romney vs. Romney] "The Boston Globe." January 19, 2007] As governor, Romney signed a 2004 measure instituting a permanent Massachusetts ban on military style assault weapons, to take the place of a Federal ban, which was then about to expire. The bill made Massachusetts the first state to enact its own such ban on specific semi-automatic weapons and some shotguns with specific accessories, and Romney supported the law with the comment: "These guns are not made for recreation or self-defense. They are instruments of destruction with the sole purpose of hunting down and killing people." [ [http://myclob.pbwiki.com/07-01-2004 ROMNEY SIGNS OFF ON PERMANENT ASSAULT WEAPONS BAN; Legislation also makes improvements to gun licensing system] "Governor Mitt Romney" July 1, 2004] As Governor Romney extended the term of firearm licenses from four to six years, reinstated a 90-day grace period for citizens renewing their gun licenses, and signed a law providing free replacement licenses.Fact|date=June 2007
When he supported the Brady Bill in 1994, Romney said, "That's not going to make me the hero of the NRA. I don't line up with the NRA."Just before declaring his candidacy for the 2008 Republican nomination for president, Romney joined the
National Rifle Association(NRA).Scott Helman. [http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2007/01/14/romney_retreats_on_gun_control/ Romney, appealing to core GOP voters, toughens pro-gun rhetoric] "The Boston Globe." January 14, 2007] Steve LeBlanc, Associated Press Writer. [http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2007/01/14/romney_retreats_on_gun_control/ Romney retreats on gun control: Ex-governor woos Republican votes] "The Boston Globe," January 14, 2007] In 2005, Romney declared the 31st anniversary of the Gun Owners' Action League "Right to Bear Arms Day" [ [http://www.pocatelloshops.com/blogs/Journal_Politics.php?id=2390 Romney's right on Second Amendment] "Idaho State Journal". U.S. Senator Larry Craig March 12, 2007. Retrieved May 23, 2007]
Romney has made conflicting statements in his 2008 campaign:
" [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VQvny6CKcNc I've hunted a number of times, of various types of small rodents.] "
" [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ug_pt_mQwc Shooting rabbits single shot 22 is pretty hard.] "
"I have a gun of my own. I go hunting myself. I'm a member of the NRA and believe firmly in the right to bear arms. In our state... there are a series of laws restricting gun ownership in various ways. Over the past four years, I've worked very closely with the Gun Owners' Action League here, which is an affiliate of the NRA, and we've made some changes which I think they feel have been positive steps. And so you are going to see that, I think, hopefully, in other states as well, as they make progress, perhaps further than Massachusetts has."
"So I'm a hunter and believe in Second Amendment rights, but I also believe that assault weapons are not needed in the public population." [http://www.abcnews.go.com/ThisWeek/Politics/story?id=2885156&page=2 Mitt Romney: The Complete Interview] "ABC News". RetrievedRomney later clarified that he did not 'own' a gun and said that one of his sons keeps two guns at the family vacation home in Utah.
June 21, 2007]
The Associated Press reported in April 2007 that Romney never sought a hunting license in any of the four states where he has resided. Romney replied by saying that he mainly hunts
small gamein Utah, which does not require a license. [cite news|url=http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/04/07/AR2007040701089.html|title=Four States Report Romney Never Got Hunting Licenses|publisher=Washington Post/Associated Press|date= April 8, 2007|accessdate=2008-01-08]
As Governor of Massachusetts, Romney signed legislation that required that nearly all Massachusetts residents obtain health insurance coverage by establishing means-tested state subsidies for people without adequate employer insurance, by directing funds designated to compensate for the health costs of the uninsured, and also specified penalties for those who fail to obtain coverage.  [ [http://www.mass.gov/legis/laws/seslaw06/sl060058.htm An Act Providing Access to Affordable, Quality, Accountable Health Care.] Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Acts of 2006 (Session Laws), Chapter 58. Retrieved January 2, 2007.] [Dembner, Alice. [http://www.boston.com/news/globe/city_region/breaking_news/2007/01/outline_for_new_1.html Outline for new insurance plan proposed] Boston Globe. January 19, 2007. Retrieved January 19, 2007.] Legislation, effective on
July 1, 2007, requires health insurance for all state residents, provided a plan is available to the individual that is deemed affordable according to state standards. Employers with eleven or more employees are mandated to offer approved insurance plans for employees.
Romney had vetoed eight sections of the health care legislation, including a $295 per person fee on businesses with 11 employees or more that do not provide health insurance.   Romney also vetoed provisions providing dental and eyeglass benefits to low income residents on the Medicaid program, and providing health coverage to senior and disabled legal immigrants not eligible for federal Medicaid.  However, the state legislature overrode all of the vetoes. 
August 22, 2007, Mitt Romney announced the formation of a committee of health care advisors that will help him define his health care plan. The advisory council is led by co-chairmen Tom Price, Georgia congressman, and Tim Murphy, currently president of Beacon Health Strategiesand formally Romney's secretary of health and humane services in Massachusetts. [ [http://www.boston.com/news/politics/politicalintelligence/2007/08/mitt_romney_tod.html Romney announces healthcare advisers] ] The four other members are Georgia Congressman Phil Gingrey, domestic policy expert John Cogan, Columbia Business SchoolDean Glenn Hubbard, and Romney aide Cindy Gillespie. [ [http://marcambinder.theatlantic.com/archives/2007/08/first_romneys_health_care_poli.php First: Romney's Health Care Policy Advisory List] ]
August 24, 2007, Romney unveiled his national health care plan. His plan allowed the states to choose individual health care plans for their fellow Americans. [ [http://blogs.usatoday.com/onpolitics/2007/08/romney-vision-f.html 'Romney vision for health care reform' now online] ]
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender issues
Romney has stated his opposition to both
same-sex marriageand civil unions, though he supports some domestic partnership benefits and (at the state level) supports anti-discrimination laws to protect gays and lesbians in the workplace.
Prior to Romney's 2008 Presidential campaign, he had a varied history regarding legal rights and responsibilities accorded to
same-sex couples. During his 1994 senate campaign and 2002 Massachusetts gubenatorial campaign, Romney said he would have a better policy providing for domestic partnerships than his Democratic opponents. [ [http://nymag.com/news/politics/powergrid/27841/ "The Right Man"] "New York Magazine." Retrieved June 21, 2007.] In 1994, Romney sent a letter to the Log Cabin Republicanssaying that he would be a stronger advocate for gay rights in the Senate than his opponent at the time, Senator Edward M. Kennedy. His letter included the phrase "We must make equality for gays and lesbians a mainstream concern."cite news |url=http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/09/us/politics/09romney.html?ex=1323320400&en=a1848ee252cfecaf&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss |title=Romney’s Gay Rights Stance Draws Ire |work="New York Times" |date=2006-12-09 |accessdate=2007-02-21] In 2002, Romney spoke regarding domestic partnership benefits, saying, "All citizens deserve equal rights, regardless of their sexual orientation." Romney said that domestic partnership status should be recognized in a way that includes the potential for health benefits and rights of survivorship. [McElhenny, John. [http://www.dailycollegian.com/media/paper874/news/2002/10/16/News/Shannon.Obrien.Supports.Gay.Marriage-1551350.shtml?norewrite200603272221&sourcedomain=www.dailycollegian.com “Shannon O'Brien supports gay marriage”] "Daily Collegian" October 16, 2002. Retrieved December 10, 2006.] [ [http://web.archive.org/web/20021218005104/www.romneyhealey.com/issues/ "Mitt Romney on the Issues"] "Romney for Governor 2002." Retrieved December 11, 2006.]
Also in 2002, Romney opposed a Massachusetts constitutional amendment that would have banned same-sex marriage and domestic partnerships because the amendment, which was supported by the Democratic leader
Tom Finneran, would have prohibited domestic partnership benefits for gays and lesbians. [http://www.baywindows.com/index.php?ch=columnists&sc=theromneyfiles&sc2=&sc3=&id=53677 Don't dismiss Romney, gay Republicans say] "Bay Windows" Laura Kiritsy, October 24, 2002] Romney said,
"Basically I see the provision of basic civil rights and domestic partnership benefits [as] a campaign against Tom Finneran. I see Tom Finneran and the Democratic leadership as having opposed the application of domestic partnership benefits to gay and lesbian couples and I will support and endorse efforts to provide those domestic partnership benefits to gay and lesbian couples."
In 2006, Romney announced his support of the
Federal Marriage Amendment, which would have federally defined marriage in the U.S. Constitution as the union of one man and one woman.  
Romney said during his 2008 presidential campaign,
"...my view on marriage has been entirely consistent over my political career. And that is that I oppose same-sex marriage. I also oppose civil unions...ever since [same-sex marriage] became a prominent [feature] in my state, with the decision of the Supreme Judicial Court, I have taken every action that I could conceive of within the bounds of the law to defend traditional marriage and to stop same-sex marriage...I’ve been to Washington to testify in favor of traditional marriage. I’ve written a letter to every U.S. senator on the topic...I believe that traditional marriage is right for the nurturing and development of children, but that I do not want to discriminate against gay people in employment or housing or other parts of their life."]
"Don't ask, don't tell"
Governor Romney has said that he thinks that the
Don't Ask, Don't Tellpolicy is working and he wouldn't change it, especially in the middle of a war, and that "we have much bigger issues as a nation that we ought to be talking about than that policy right now".
Romney is a strong opponent of
medical cannabisunder any circumstances. He ignored a question from a man afflicted with muscular dystrophywho confronted him about it on October 7 2007. The man's question pertained to Romney arresting or enforcing laws prohibiting the medicinal use of cannabis. When pressured by presumably the camera man Romney only asserted his stance responding, "I'm not in favor of legalizing medical marijuana." [cite web
work=CNN Video - Breaking News
Romney has criticized what he calls the "cesspool" of
pornography. However, in July 2007, Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, the president of the American Family Foundation, and Daniel Weiss, media analyst for James Dobson's Focus on the Familysaid Romney had not prevented Marriott Hotelsfrom making pornography available in its hotel rooms when he served on the hotel chain's board from 1992 to 2001. In an "Associated Press" interview, Romney said he was unaware of how much revenue the hotels generated from pornography, although he had served on the board's financial audit committee. [cite news |url=http://www.wnbc.com/politics/13629915/detail.html |title=Conservatives Link Romney, Pornography |work=WNBC |date= 2007-07-02]
Romney ran ads in key early primary states of New Hampshire, Iowa and South Carolina saying that children should not be exposed to destructive influences. Romney said, "I am not pursuing an effort to try and stop adults from being able to acquire or see things that I find objectionable; that's their right. But I do vehemently oppose practices or business procedures that will allow kids to be exposed to obscenity." [cite news |url=http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2007/07/16/romney-blasts-pornography-drugs-violence-in-new-ad/ |title=Romney blasts pornography, drugs, violence in new ad |work=CNN |date=
tem cell research
Romney has said that research using human embryos created during fertility treatments is ethical but opposes using federal funds to support it.] He opposes research using cloned embryos created by implanting human DNA into donated eggs. When he ran for governor in 2002, Romney strongly advocated stem-cell research in general terms, and he promised to lobby
George W. Bushto embrace such research.During his presidential campaign, however, Romney renounced his 2002 position and said that he now agrees with Bush's decision to ban federal funding for research on excess embryos.
Romney believes the government should invest more in technologies that will help the United States, such as power generation,
fuel cells, nanotechnology, and materials science.
"In technology, we as a country already invest an enormous amount--for instance, in defense technology, space technology, health--but we also need to invest in some of the emerging technologies that are important at a basic science level such as fuel cell technology, power generation, materials science, automotive technology. We have to recognize that where we invest as a nation, both from a government standpoint but also from a private standpoint, those are the areas we've been most successful." [ http://www.mittromney.com/Issue-Watch/Technology]During his 2007 Iowa Republican Straw Poll speech, Romney advocated that all home computers provide a means for parents to block objectionable Internet content from being shown to children.
"...I want to clean up the dirty water in which a lot of our kids are swimming, and by that I'm not just talking about pollution, I'm talking about moral pollution. I'm talking about what they see on TV and on the Internet. I'm concerned about the drug culture, I'm concerned about the pornography, the violence, the sex, the perversions that they see day in and day out. I want to make sure that every computer that goes into a home in the future, has a button there, or a place for the citizen, the parent, to be able to block all of that pornography from their kids Internet screen." [citenews|url=http://www.c-spanarchives.org/library/index.php?main_page=product_video_info&products_id=200399-1&tID=5 |work=CSPAN|title=Mitt Romney Iowa Straw Poll Speech |date=2007-11-08]
In January 2008, a comprehensive analysis by the
National Taxpayers Unionfound that Romney's presidential campaign proposals would increase the federal budgetby $19.5 billion. [ [http://www.ntu.org/main/press.php?PressID=991&org_name=NTUF Study: Presidential Frontrunners Would Boost Federal Budget by Range of $7 Billion to $287 Billion Annually ] ]
In 2007 Romney began strongly criticizing the McCain-Feingold Law, saying "We step into dangerous territory when politicians start eviscerating our fundamental freedoms in the name of amorphous principles, like campaign finance reform."] In his 2002 gubernatorial campaign, Romney proposed taxing private political contributions in order to finance publicly funded campaigns.In his 1994 Senate campaign, Romney advocated spending limits on congressional campaigns and suggested abolishing
political action committees.Romney has not given up on campaign finance, but says that McCain-Feingold does not work. He said; "The original intent of McCain-Feingold was to reduce the role of money and special interests in our political system. But on this too it has been a failure. Political spending has been driven into secret corners and more power and influence has been handed to hidden special interests. What is really needed is greater transparency, and disclosure, of campaign contributions – not more restrictions on political speech."
In light of the growing economy of China and other parts of Asia, Romney has campaigned in support of free trade with these countries and has said that America must act quickly to ensure trade and commerce, which will further strengthen and grow our own economy. He also states that if America fails to act quickly, our economy will be eclipsed by these growing nations. 
Governor Romney has said that he favors "moderate, predictable changes" in the
minimum wagelinked to other indicators of growth in the economy. "I don't like the big jumps from time to time."]
Romney has signed the anti-tax pledge put forth by
Americans for Tax Reform, pledging no new taxes or increases of existing taxes; in 2002, Romney refused to sign an anti-tax pledge because he considered them "government by gimmickry."]
Governor of Massachusetts, Romney said that he was open to an increase in federal gas taxes and did not publicly support the Bush tax cuts.] In 2007, Romney said that he had supported the Bush tax cuts. [Lee Bandy, “Romney Targeting McCain,” [http://www.thestate.com/ The State] , 2/4/07]
By the end of Romney's term as governor, declining aid from the state to localities caused property taxes to rise by 5% to their highest level in 25 years.] The state and local tax burden in Massachusetts increased from 10 percent to 10.6 percent of per capita income during Romney's governorship, according to analysis by the Tax Foundation.] To help get the state out of debt, Romney doubled fees for court filings, professional regulations and firearm licenses, raising $400 million in the first year of the program.] Romney also increased the state gasoline fee by 2 cents per gallon, generating about $60 million per year in additional revenue; the fee is in addition to the 21-cent-per-gallon state gas tax.cite news |url=http://www.boston.com/news/politics/2008/specials/romney/articles/part6_main/?page=full |title=Taking office, remaining an outsider |last=Mooney |first=Brian |date=
June 29, 2007|accessdate=2007-07-03 |work=Boston Globe] Romney approved $128 million in tax changes such as sales tax from purchases on the Internet] and raised another $181 million in additional business taxes in the next two years; businesses called these changes tax increases, but Romney defended them as the elimination of "loopholes." 
In Romney's 2007 Iowans for Taxpayer Relief and Iowa Republican Straw Poll speeches, he advocated eliminating the capital gains tax.   Romney has since stated that he favors eliminating any taxes related to capital gains or other investments on all individuals or families who make less than $200,000 per year. Romney has also advocated eliminating the estate tax. [citenews |publisher=Boston Globe|date=2007-08-10|title = Romney rolls through business plan in hopes of winning Iowa | http://www.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2007/08/10/romney_rolls_through_business_plan_in_hopes_of_winning_iowa/]
An internal Romney campaign document released in 2007 by the media suggested that Romney criticized France and attempted to convey the message "Hillary = France."] Governor Romney has said he "loves" France, where he served as a missionary for the
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saintsfor two years. When a New Hampshire voter asked Romney why he kept "bashing" France on the campaign trail, Romney announced, "My kids are on vacation there right now. I love France. I speak French, lived in France. I have nothing but respect for the French people."cite web | last = Wangsness | first = Lisa | title = "Romney to France: Je t'aime!" | work = Political Intelligence | publisher = Boston Globe | date = 2007-07-26 | url = http://www.boston.com/news/politics/politicalintelligence/2007/07/romney_to_franc.html | accessdate = 2007-07-27] Romney has said that the next president must re-engage France, and called French president Nicolas Sarkozy a potential "blood brother." 
In his February 7, 2008 appearance at the Conservative Political Action Committee, during which he withdrew from the Presidential race, Romney mentioned France in less flattering terms. " [U] nless America changes course," he said, "we will become the France of the 21st century — still a great nation, but no longer the leader of the world, no longer the superpower." [ [http://thepage.time.com/transcript-of-romneys-speech-withdrawing-from-the-race/ Transcript of Romney’s Speech Withdrawing From the Race] Time.com, Feb. 7, 2008]
During the debate in
South Carolinaheld May 15, 2007Romney stated that in his view "We ought to double Guantanamo." He then went on to say, in reference to combatants captured in Iraq, "I want them in Guantanamo where they don't get the access to lawyers they get when they're on our soil. I don't want them in our prisons. I want them there." 
In Romney's speech at the 2007 Iowa Republican Straw Poll, he praised the US military for not allowing prisoners to have judicial review of their cases. 
Romney favors increased immigration to the United States and opposes illegal immigration, saying "I want to see more immigration in our country, but more legal immigration and less illegal immigration." [ [http://www.mittromney.com/Issue-Watch/Immigration Immigration ] ] In a speech to the Republican National Hispanic Assembly, Romney said "I want to make sure we continue an open door in immigration." [citenews |url=http://www.abcnews.go.com/Politics/wireStory?id=3402423 |title="Romney Touts Immigration to Hispanics" |work=ABC News|date=
Romney is against amnesty for illegal aliens, but also said, "I don't believe in rounding up 11 million people and forcing them at gunpoint from our country." He would like to see illegal immigrants register with the government, pay taxes, and apply for citizenship,  but that they should not be given any priority or special treatment over immigrants who have applied for citizenship legally. In his last month as Governor of Massachusetts, Romney signed an executive order that would have allowed state police officers to make arrests for immigration violations. [ citenews | title="Troopers can arrest illegal immigrants in Romney deal, Critics warn of profiling, police mistrust" |author= Michael Levenson |coauthors= Jonathan Saltzman |url= http://www.boston.com/news/local/articles/2006/12/03/troopers_can_arrest_illegal_immigrants_in_romney_deal/
publisher= Boston Globe |date=2006-12-03 |accessdate=2007-07-27] The order was never implemented because governor-elect
Deval Patrick, who had already expressed strong opposition to the order before it was signed, revoked it a month later when he was sworn in. [citenews | title=Governor rescinds immigration order
author= Jonathan Saltzman |coauthors= Jonathan Saltzman |url= http://www.boston.com/news/local/politics/candidates/articles/2007/01/12/governor_rescinds_immigration_order/ | publisher= Boston Globe |date=2007-01-12 |accessdate=2007-07-27]
The executive order pertaining to state police was consistent with
Section 287(g)of federal immigration law. Section 287(g) is a program of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996that deputizes state and local law enforcement personnel to enforce immigration matters. [Elizabeth Llorente, "Newark Killings Become Immigration Flash Point," "The Record," August 14, 2007 [http://www.northjersey.com/page.php?qstr=eXJpcnk3ZjczN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXkzJmZnYmVsN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXk3MTgxNjYzJnlyaXJ5N2Y3MTdmN3ZxZWVFRXl5Ng= Newark killings become immigration flash point] on NorthJersey.com accessed at December 24 2007] ["Cobb ignoring tool aimed at illegals," "Marietta Daily Journal," August 3, 2006]
Romney opposed the recent (June 2007) Senate immigration bill. After it failed, Romney declared in a press release that "America will always welcome legal immigration, but as a nation we also insist on the rule of law." [Press Release, "Governor Romney on Today's Senate Immigration Vote" on
2007-06-28] He has criticized what he called the sanctuary citypolicies of cities "like Newark, San Francisco and New York City . . . ." He has called for cutting off federal funds to such cities. ["58% Of Americans Favor Cutting Off Federal Funding For Illegal Immigrant Sanctuary Cities" KXMB CBS-TV of Bismarck, North Dakota http://www.kxmb.com/News/Nation/154997.asp]
Fellow Republican presidential candidate Senator
John McCaincriticized Romney, saying "Maybe I should wait a couple of weeks and see if it [Romney's views on immigration] changes because it's changed in less than a year from his position before." [ citenews|url=http://www.latestpolitics.com/blog/2007/05/mccain-hits-romney.html |work=LatestPolitics.Com|title=McCain Hits Romney Hard |date=2007-05-21] [ citenews|url=http://blog.washingtonpost.com/channel-08/2007/05/mccain_jabs_romney_on_immigrat.html |work=Washington Post|title=McCain Jabs Romney on Immigration |date=2007-05-22]
During the second Presidential debate, Romney supported the use of "
enhanced interrogation techniques" in handling suspects at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility, saying, "... enhanced interrogation techniques have to be used -- not torture but enhanced interrogation techniques, yes."  When asked directly whether waterboardingwas torture, Romney stated, " [A] s a presidential candidate, I don't think it's wise for us to describe specifically which measures we would and would not use. [...] And I get that advice from Cofer Black, who is a person who was responsible for counterterrorism in the CIA for some 35 years. I get that advice by talking to former generals in our military." [cite news|url=http://us.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/11/28/debate.transcript.part2/index.html|title=Part II: CNN/YouTube Republican presidential debate transcript|publisher=CNN|accessdate=2007-12-02|date= November 29, 2007] According to Blackwaterexpert Jeremy Scahill, Romney advisor Cofer Blackhas been, "a key figure in the extraordinary renditionprogram, the government-sanctioned kidnap-and-torture program, where prisoners like Maher Ararare sent to third-country hellholes to be tortured." [cite news|url=http://www.democracynow.org/2007/5/23/leading_gop_candidate_romney_taps_blackwaters]
In the New Hampshire Republican debate, Romney was asked if he agreed "that the use of
tactical nuclear weapons, potentially, would be possible if that were the only way to stop Iran from developing a nuclear bomb?" Governor Romney responded that "You don't take options off the table, but what you do is stand back and say, 'What's going on here?' You see what's happening in Sudan and Afghanistan, in Iraq and Iran. All over the world, we're seeing the same thing happening, and that is people are testing the United States of America. And we have to make sure they understand that we're not arrogant; we have resolve. And we have the strength to protect our interests and to protect people who love liberty." ]
Prior to the opening of the 62nd session of the
United Nations General Assemblywhere Iran's president Mahmoud Ahmadinejadwas scheduled to speak, he released a letter to the Secretary-General stating that the invitation should be revoked and he should instead be greeted with an indictment under the Genocide Conventionfor threats against Israel, and that failure to act should lead the United States to reconsider its level of support and funding for the United Nations. [cite press release|url=http://www.mittromney.com/News/Press-Releases/UN_Letter|date= 17 September 2007|title=Governor Romney Urges United Nations To Revoke Any Invitation To President Ahmadinejad|accessdate=2007-09-18] A spokesman of the Secretary-General explained that General Assembly matters are not under his control. [cite press release|url=http://www.un.org//News/briefings/docs/2007/db070917.doc.htm|title=Spokesperson's Noon Briefing|date= 17 September 2007|accessdate=2007-09-18]
In his speech announcing that he would run for president, Romney said, "so long as there is a reasonable prospect of success, our wisest course is to seek stability in Iraq, with additional troops endeavoring to secure the civilian population."] He argued that instability in Iraq could lead to civil war and that "Iraq's Sunni region could become a base for al-Qaeda; that its Shia region could be seized by Iran; that Kurd tension could destabilize Turkey; and even that the broader Middle East could be drawn into conflict."He says that this "could mean a future with far more military involvement and far more loss of American life." Romney said that he was willing to break with the Bush administration's policy on Iraq as other Republicans have now done, presumably if the troop surge did not prove successful, though he said it is still too early to gauge its success.Fact|date=January 2008
In the June 5 Republican presidential debate, Romney said that the war could have been avoided if
Saddam Husseinhad allowed IAEA inspectors into the country. However, " Media Matters" pointed out that Hussein did in fact allow UN weapons inspectors into Iraq, and they found "no evidence or plausible indication of the revival of a nuclear weapons programme in Iraq".]
Paul Begalasaid Romney's misstatement would disqualify him if it had occurred in a general election debate, and it was akin to saying "the Mexicans bombed Pearl Harbor."Romney's full statement was:
"Well, the question is kind of a non sequitur, if you will. And what I mean by that -- or a null set -- and that is that if you're saying, let's turn back the clock and Saddam Hussein had opened up his country to IAEA inspectors and they'd come in and they'd found that there were no weapons of mass destruction -- had Saddam Hussein therefore not violated United Nations resolutions -- we wouldn't be in the conflict we're in. But he didn't do those things, and we knew what we knew at the point we made the decision to get in."
However, in Romney's defense, he explained that he was referring to the several instances where Saddam Hussein refused to allow IAEA Inspectors into certain palaces, thus increasing the suspicion which led to war.
July 7, 2007, Romney said, "In places like Pakistan, America needs to work not just on a military front". He said he would send in his proposed " Special Partnership Force", a team of Central Intelligence Agency(CIA) agents and Army special forces that would work with the local population to aid in military support, gun supplies, and "to help make sure that they have the rule of law, water projects, bridges built." [ ]
pecial Partnership Force
June 21, 2007, Romney announced that as president he would establish a Special Partnership Force (SPF) to battle terrorism.
"I believe America must establish a Special Partnership Force, with a core leadership drawn from Army Special Forces personnel training in working with civilian governments and Intelligence personnel. This force would work hand-in-glove with local host governments. Together, in partnership, they would seek to target and separate terrorists from the local population, and to disrupt and defeat them. They would have the authority to call in all elements of civil assistance and humanitarian aid. And, where they felt it was necessary, they could call in Delta and SEAL resources. Their goal is to build national institutions of stability and freedom, and to promote the rule of law and human rights." [ http://www.mittromney.com/News/Press-Releases/Global_Initiative_For_Values_And_Freedom]
Talks with hostile nations
Romney has criticized Democratic presidential candidate
Barack Obamafor saying in his first year as president, he would meet with the leaders of several nations hostile to the government of the United States, including Syria, North Korea, Cuba, Venezuela, and Iran. Romney said, "Having the president meet with the authoritarian tyrants of the world is remarkably poor judgment."
* [http://www.mittromney.com/Issue-Watch/index MittRomney.com - Issues]
* [http://www.ontheissues.org/Mitt_Romney.htm On The Issues] issue positions
* [http://www.politicaljab.com PoliticalJab.com] issue positions
* [http://www.foreignaffairs.org/20070701faessay86402/mitt-romney/rising-to-a-new-generation-of-global-challenges.html Rising to a New Generation of Global Challenges] an article by
Mitt Romneyin Foreign Affairs
* [http://www.cfr.org/bios/13226/mitt_romney.html Mitt Romney's positions on top foreign policy issues] by
Council on Foreign Relations
* [http://presidentialprofiles2008.org/Romney/tab1.html Romney & environmental issues:] Comprehensive review from the
League of Conservation Voters.
Carla Howell, [http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig4/howell5.html "Mitt Romney: Champion of Big Government"] "LewRockwell.com", May 31, 2007
* Karen Tumulty, [http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1619212,00.html "What Romney believes"] "Time Magazine," May 10, 2007
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