Mitt Romney was raised in Michigan where he attended public school until the 7th grade when he switched to a boy’s private preparatory school where, it has been noted, the majority of students came from wealthier families that did Romney. At the time, Romney was neither athletically talented nor academically proficient; however, he later graduated from Brigham Young, and earned both a JD (Juris Doctorate) and an MBA from Harvard.
He and his wife Ann married in 1969, and they five children together. As a staunch Mormon, Romney served as a missionary to France, and is actively involved in his church. Romney proved to be an exceptional businessman, and became wealthy through his career as a business consultant. He also was instrumental making the 2002 Winter Olympics a financial success as Head of the Salt Lake Organizing Committee.
In 2002, Romney was elected governor of Massachusetts and oversaw the turnaround of state’s deficit. Romney’s political views have shifted in recent years, but is closely aligned with conservative tenants.
Note: In gathering the following material, I attempted to use objective information based on voting record, quotes, and non-partisan sources. At the moment, I fall in the category of “undecided” with respect to both the candidates and the parties they represent. Therefore, the views expressed here are not necessarily my own. (see also posts for Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, and Ron Paul)
On Poverty 1 of 9Mr. Romney's stance on poverty centers mainly around his views against government welfare programs and entitlements. Such programs have created a culture of dependency on the government which is a threat to our American belief in personal initiative. Romney believes in creating jobs for the poor, not handing them cash, and as such Romney would likely follow through on older statements that welfare recipients should be require to work.
Notable Quote: Dependency is Death to Initiative 2 of 9The threat to our culture comes from within. The 1960's welfare programs created a culture of poverty. Some think we won that battle when we reformed welfare, but the liberals haven't given up. At every turn, they try to substitute government largesse for individual responsibility. Dependency is death to initiative, risk-taking and opportunity. Dependency is a culture-killing drug. We have got to fight it like the poison it is.
Source: Speeches to 2008 Conservative Political Action Conference , Feb 7, 2008
On Abortion 3 of 9Mr. Romney supported abortion rights before becoming the governor of Massachusetts, but changed his position after a debate in the legislature on embryonic stem cells. He would not sign the pledge to make anti-abortion criteria for presidential appointees such as judges. Although, now a pro-life advocate, he has in the past stated support for protecting the right choose and that there should be no punishment for women who have partial-birth abortions. His 2007 voting record is particularly suspect in this area as he claimed he would welcome the end of Roe v. Wade while at the same time supporting abortion laws. In 2005 he also voted against emergency contraceptives for rape victims.
Notable Quote: No Criteria for Appointing Judges, But is Pro-Life 4 of 9GINGRICH: Governor Romney did appoint pro-abortion judges.
ROMNEY: I appointed probably 50 or 60 judges--at the trial court level, mostly, the great majority. These were former prosecutors; 80% of them former prosecutors. We don't have a litmus test for appointing judges--asking them if they're pro-life or not pro-life. These were people going after crimes and the like. I am pro-life. And the Massachusetts Citizens for Life and several other family-oriented groups wrote a letter two weeks ago and said they'd watched my record, that I was an avidly pro-life governor. I am a pro-life governor; I am a pro-life individual. Is there any possibility that I've ever made a mistake in that regard, I didn't see something that I should have seen? Possibly. But you can count on me, as president, to pursue a policy that protects the life of unborn, whether here in this country or overseas. And I'll reverse the policies of this president.
Source: South Carolina 2012 GOP debate hosted by CNN's John King , Jan 19, 2012
On Education 5 of 9Mr. Romney supports President Obama's attempts to evaluate teacher competency. In September of 2011, Romney challenged teacher unions, remarking that small classes make little difference in education, and are instead a tactic used by the unions to hire more teachers. The money gained by these unions, in his opinion, also detract from a family's access to various other choices for education. Underperforming schools should be replaced by charter schools according to Romney, and he believes students should be required to a high school graduation test. He further believes schools can install values, but not in matters of religion or prayer, and that parents should take a more active role in their child's schooling.
Notable Quote: Teachers’ Unions Adversely Impact Student Achievement 6 of 9Teachers' unions do their very best to secure insulations from performance for their members, and the results are lack of accountability, rising pay as a simple function of years on the job, and near-absolute job security. These have a deadening impact on student achievement. I don't blame teachers' unions for asking such gold-plated benefits; the unions'' job is to work for their members. I blame administrators, school boards, and parents for saying yes, even when schools are manifestly failing their students. It is not the unions' job to fight for our children.
That job is our job, and it's the task of the people we elect to represent us. Our elected representatives' role is to sit across the table from the unions and bargain in good faith in the interest of children and parents. But the teachers' unions long ago discovered that they could wield influence--and, in some cases, overwhelming influence--over the selection of our representatives on school boards and in state legislatures.
Source: No Apology, by Mitt Romney, p.217 , Mar 2, 2010
On Taxes 7 of 9Mr. Romney is a proponent of tax cuts while generating federal revenue through increased government fees similar to the initiatives that work for him as Governor. For families, Romney feels it's the middle class that needs the most relief and has stated that the recession could be avoided by allowing for larger tax cuts those in the middle income bracket.
Notable Quote: Rich and Poor are Okay; Middle Needs Help 8 of 9GINGRICH: [to Romney]: On about page 47 of your plan you have a capital-gains tax cut for people under $200,000. So I'm curious: What was the rationale for setting an even lower base mark than Obama's $250,000?
ROMNEY: Well, the reason for giving a tax break to middle-income Americans is that middle-income Americans have been the people who have been most hurt by the Obama economy. People are having a hard time making ends meet. And so if I'm going to use precious dollars to reduce taxes, I want to focus it on where the people are hurting the most, and that's the middle class. I'm not worried about rich people; they're doing just fine. The very poor have a safety net; they're taken care of. But the people in the middle, the hard-working Americans, are the people who need a break, and that's why I focus my tax cut right there.
Source: 2011 GOP debate at Dartmouth College, NH , Oct 11, 2011
Parting Quote: Child Development Enhanced by Having Both Parents 9 of 9"A nation built on the principles of the Founding Fathers cannot long stand when its children are raised without fathers in the home. The development of a child is enhanced by having a mother and father. Such a family is the ideal for the future of the child and for the strength of a nation. I wonder how it is that unelected judges, like some in my state of Massachusetts, are so unaware of this reality, so oblivious to the millennia of recorded history. It is time for the people of America to fortify marriage through Constitutional amendment, so that liberal judges cannot continue to attack it."
Source: Speeches to 2008 Conservative Political Action Conference , Feb 7, 2008
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Ron Mattocks is a father of five (3 sons, 2 stepdaughters) and author of the book, Sugar Milk: What One Dad Drinks When He Can’t Afford Vodka. He blogs at Clark Kent’s Lunchbox, and lives in Houston with his wife, Ashley, who eternally mocks his fervor for Coldplay.
Photo Credit: Wiki Commons (Portrait, #4,#8, Gage Skidmore; #5,#7 FreeRangeStock)