Mitt Romney

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Mitt Romney or Willard "Mitt" Romney is a candidate for the Republican Party nomination for U.S. President in 2008.

Romney formally announced his candidacy on February 13, 2007. Unhappy with the diminutive size of his religious home-state (Utah) and the politics of the citizens where he was governor (Massachusetts), Mitt Romney announces he is running for the Republican presidential nomination at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan. Perhaps he knows he won't get the tiny Republican Jewish vote anyway. The Detroit Free Press-Local 4 Michigan Poll conducted in January 2007 found that only 8% of likely Michigan Republican primary voters favored Romney. News Report

For many American voters the most salient fact about Mitt Romney is that he is a Mormon, a member of the Church of Latter Day Saints (LDS). That fact that makes him a strange choice for a party that claims to represent majority American values. His candidacy also threatens to focus intense public attention on the LDS, something that has never been good for this religious minority.

Contents

Romney Watch

  • January 3, 2007: Romney establishes an "exploratory committee" to raise money for his nomination bid. Among the important financial backers are billionaire Utah philanthropist Jon Huntsman Sr., and his brother, David Huntsman. Source: Deseret News Curiously, the ruling class Hunstman family is split in its selection of Republican candidates for President. Romney's opponent John McCain is supported by Utah's Governor Jon Huntsman Jr. as well as by Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff.
  • January 9, 2007: Associated Press reports that South Carolina Republican Senator Jim DeMint sends letter to South Carolina Republicans endorsing Romney. Source: Jim Davenport. "DeMint Endorses Romney for President." Associated Press. January 9, 2007. Las Vegas Sun
  • February 13, 2007: Romney formally announces his candidacy.
  • February 17, 2007: Almost hysterical, bellicose comments made during interview with George Stephanopoulos.
  • February 21, 2007: Romney campaign runs its first televison ads, in Iowa. His 60-second spots describe promote him as a "business legend" who "rescued the Olympics" and "turned around a Democratic state."
  • March 9, 2007: In a Miami speech to Cuban-Americans, Romney accuses Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez of stealing rhetoric: "Hugo Chávez has tried to steal an inspiring phrase--Patria o muerte, venceremos," claimed Romney. "It does not belong to him. It belongs to a free Cuba." Actually the phrase belongs to Fidel Castro. This gaff was not well received by the audience. News Report
  • March 20, 2007: Public revelation that John Rakolta, co-chair of Romney's presidential campaign finance committee, had contributed funds to Voice the Vote, which purchased an campaign attack ad in the Michigan Chronicle associating Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm with Adolph Hitler. News Report
  • April 2, 2007: Although still in the single digits in public opinion polls Romney rakes in a whopping $21 million in campaign contributions in the first three months of 2007. Poor old war hero McCain has double digit support in the public opinion polls but his fundraising lags behind that of Romney. The wealthy are voting in the money primary and their choice is Mitt Romney.
  • April 6, 2007: Romney claims to be a lifelong hunter; however, officials in the four states where he has lived have no record that he ever held a hunting license. (Source:News Report) A Romney aide later admitted that Romney had been hunting only twice in his life, once at age 15 and once in 2006. News Report
  • April 26, 2007 - Catching Osama Bin Laden not worth it - "It's not worth moving heaven and earth spending billions of dollars just trying to catch one person," (Source:AP Interview)
  • April 29, 2007: Mitt Romney answers Fox News interviewer's question about "his favorite novel with Battlefield Earth," a science fiction novel written by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard.
  • April 30-May 1: PBS Frontline/American Experience broadcasts new two part series The Mormons
  • May 2007 - "There is a global jihadist movement, and they've come together as Shi'a and Sunni and Hezbollah and Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood and al Qaeda with that intent." (Source: If you think they hate us now, Salon.com, Aug. 10, 2007)
  • May 6, 2007 - Romney said "In France, for instance, I'm told that marriage is now frequently contracted in seven-year terms where either party may move on when their term is up. How shallow and how different from the Europe of the past.", while giving the graduation speech at Pat Robertson's Regent University. - where is the citation for this? -
  • May 13, 2007 - Romney says that he "deplores" the polygamy practiced by his Mormon ancestors and denies that he and his wife Ann violated the Mormon rule against premarital sex. Why would he even answer such a question in an interview?
  • May 19, 2007 - At a fundraiser in Atlanta, Romney gestured to Ralph Reed and said, “Why it’s good to see Gary Bauer here.” (Source: Thanks for coming, Mr. Bauer. Or whoever you are., Atlanta Journal Constitution, May 19, 2007.)
  • June 6, 2007 - During a Republican Presidential debate, Romney claimed that Saddam Hussein had not allowed international weapons inspectors to search inside Iraq. (Source: Salon.com).
  • June 7, 2007 - Romney called for privatizing Social Security - (Romney backs personal retirement accounts, Manchester Union Leader, June 7, 2007).
  • June 12, 2007 - As Governor, Romney refused to pardon a decorated Iraq War vet for a BB gub incident that happened when he was 13. By rejecting the advice of the parole board, and refusing the pardon, Romney made it impossible for Anthony Circosta to serve as a police officer. However, Romney said that if he was president, he would keep open the option to pardon I. Lewis Libby. (Source: Gov. Romney held fast against pardons).
  • June 17, 2007 - On Guantanamo prison - "I've been there, it's a fine prison facility." "We don't want them having the kinds of legal rights associated with being on US soil." (Source: Iowa Independent blog, by John Deeth). And again on June 23rd, “Guantanamo is a symbol of our resolve.” (Source: 2008: Gitmo Gets More Attention, The Caucus blog of the New York Times, June 23, 2007)
  • June 25, 2007 - Romney, asked why he was putting more money in (to his campaign), said: “Because I have to, all right? My message is important and critical to get out into this country.” (Source: With fundraising apprently drying up, Romney writes himself a check).
  • June 27, 2007 - In a long, biographical article, Romney admitted that he strapped his family's dog, Seamus, into a rooftop carrier for a 12-hour car trip. (Source: Journeys of a Shared Life, by Neil Swidey and Stephanie Ebbert, Boston Globe, June 27, 2007). This incident continued to be raised against Romney in the 2012 campaign. See Seamus (dog) for more detail.
  • June 29, 2007 - Although Romney's personal wealth is believed to be several hundred million dollars, he asked for an extension to file his federal financial disclosure forms. (Source: [1])
  • July 21, 2007 - Romney aide Jay Garrity resigned amid accusations that he impersonated a police officer. (Source: [2]).
  • July 21, 2007 - Romney posed for a picture with a supporter holding a sign that said "No to Obama Osama and Chelsea's Moma". (Source: [3]).
  • August 8, 2007 - Romney has five sons, none of whom has ever served in the military. When asked about this, Romney said that his sons were showing their patriotism by "helping me get elected." (Source: [4])
  • September 6, 2007 - Two of Romney's top fundraisers have been removed from his campaign. Alan B. Fabian, his national finance co-chair was indicted in a $32million fraud case, and his top Utah fundraiser, Robert Lichfield, was forced to step down after allegations of abuse at a chain of schools for troubled teens, which he founded. (Sources: Major Romney Fundraiser Indicted for Massive Fraud, and Romney Drops Finance Chair Accused of Fraud and Abuse)
  • December 20, 2007 - Romney has said "My dad marched with Martin Luther King." on Meet the Press, and in campaign speeches, but that never happened. After reporter David Bernstein, of The Phoenix, found the truth, a spokesperson for Mitt Romney now says that George W. Romney and Martin Luther King Jr. marched together in June, 1963 -- although possibly not on the same day or in the same city. (Sources: Was it all a dream?, by David S. Bernstein, The Phoenix, Dec. 20, 2007, and Romney: "I invented the Internet.".)

Vital Statistics

Selected Biography

Romney is the product of ruling class privilege. He was born on March 12, 1947 in Detroit, the son of George Romney, the wealthy former three-term Michigan Governor and Nixon appointee. He attended the exclusive Cranbrook Schools in Bloomfield Hills before attending Brigham Young University and graduating with highest honors in 1971. In 1975, Romney received both business and law degrees from Harvard University. He is married with five children. His wife Ann has multiple schlerosis.

Before college, Romney earned a draft deferral by going to France for a two-year missionary tour with the Mormon Church. As such, he was able to avoid military service in Vietnam.

In 1984, Romney founded Bain Capital, a venture capital firm, with $37 million in private equity funds as a spin-off of the Boston-based firm Bain & Company, Inc. where he was CEO. Bain Capital was involved with financing hundreds of companies including Staples, Domino's Pizza, Sealy, Brookstone, and The Sports Authority. Romney gave up his control in the firm to a board of managing directors in 2001 to prepare for a return to politics.

Romney ran for Ted Kennedy's Senate seat in 1994 and gave the then six-term Senator the toughest re-election campaign of his career. Early polls in the race showed the two candidates in a dead heat, but Kennedy pulled ahead after two televised debates. On election day, Romney lost 58-41.

Romney likes to "use" liberal Massachusaetts as a foil for jokes when attempting to curry favor among conservative voters elsewhere. Romney was elected 70th Governor of Massachusetts in 2002 by a margin of 50-45 over Democratic challenger Shannon O'Brien. He is fourth in a line of Republican Massachusetts governors since Michael Dukakis resigned the position in 1991. That Mitt Romney is ashamed of the people of Massachusetts is a feeling reciprocated by many in the state.

When the 2002 Winter Olympics was facing bribery scandals and a serious financial crisis, Romney was asked to take over as president and CEO of the Salt Lake Organizing Committee in 1999. It was here where he rose to national prominence and in the afterglow of a moderately successful (and debt-free) Olympics, he returned to Massachusetts in the Spring of 2002 to run for Governor of a state he had been absent from for three years.

In fact, Romney's residency status was an issue in the 2002 Gubernatorial race. He filed Massachusetts income tax forms as a nonresident in 1999 and 2000, and amended the forms to "resident" in April after returning to Massachusetts and deciding to run for governor. Given that the Massachusetts Constitution requires a candidate to live in the state for seven consecutive years before running for governor, many Bay Staters did not believe Romney should have been allowed on the ballot.

During the 2004 election cycle, Romney recruited more than 100 GOP legislative candidates -- collectively called "Team Reform" -- for the Massachusetts House and Senate, putting his name on the line. While he spent much of the 2004 election campaigning for George W Bush in New Hampshire and Michigan, he did manage to secure more than $3 million from the Republican party for his efforts to reduce the Democratic hold on the legislature. In the end, these efforts failed resoundingly. Not only did Romney's team fail to pick up any seats, the state GOP lost two seats in the House and one in the Senate.

Romney and Equal Marriage Rights

Romney has become one of the Right's most vocal opponents of Equal Marriage Rights despite governing the only state where same-gender marriages are legal. Romney gave testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee where he came out in favor of the Federal Marriage Amendment. Apparently, the irony of a Mormon whose great-grandfather (Miles Park Romney) had five wives claiming that "the philosophies and teachings of all the world’s major religions" define marriage the same way was lost on the Governor. Romney also attempted to use a 1913 miscegenation law that prevented Massachusetts from issuing marriage licenses to couples whose union may not be legal in their home state. He also unfavorably compared the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court's decision in Goodridge v. Massachusetts to the US Supreme Court's Dred Scott decision in a Wall Street Journal editorial.

Romney has said that he intends to run for re-election in 2006. It is widely speculated, however, that he is using the equal marriage issue as a way to enter the national arena while distancing himself from traditionally liberal Massachusetts. He is campaigning heavily for George Bush and has made appearances in the nearby battleground state of New Hampshire on his behalf. In fact, State Democrats have filed an ethics complaint against the governor, claiming he was campaigning on the taxpayers' dime. Recently he has also come out in favor of such red meat Republican issues as tax cuts and the death penalty. If he were to leave Beacon Hill for national office, he would be the third Republican governor to do so in ten years. William Weld resigned in 1997 to lobby for his nomination to be Ambassador to Mexico (which he never received) and Paul Cellucci resigned in 2001 to become the Ambassador to Canada.

Following a Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruling nonresident same-sex couples may not marry in Massachusetts, Romney was quoted as saying, ""We don’t want Massachusetts to become the Las Vegas of same-sex marriage. It’s important that other states have the right to make their own determination of marriage and not follow the wrong course that our Supreme Judicial Court put us on." Source: Jay Lindsay. "Mass. High Court Says Nonresident Gays Cannot Marry in State." Daily News. March 31, 2006. So much for the full faith and credit clause.

U.S. Department of Agriculture

During his 1994 Senate campaign, Romney called for the "virtual elimination" of the United States Department of Agriculture, and for dramatic reductions in farm subsidies. (Source: Romney Once Called For Cutting Farm Subsidies, 'Virtual' Elimination Of USDA, IowaIndependent.com, June 26, 2007 - this source has a YouTube link.)

Rhetorical Outbidding

Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney attempts to win attention with rhetorical out-bidding in a February 17, 2007 interview with George Stephanopoulos: "Well it's a nation where people participate in suicide bombing and that kind of a suggestion, I think it was former President Rafsanjani who talked about Israel being a one-bomb nation, meaning they could not survive one bomb, but they, Iran, could survive one bomb. It's like, 'Are you kidding? Are you suggesting that you'd be willing to take a bomb in order to eliminate another people?' This is a nation where the genocidal inclination is really frightening and having a nation of this nature develop nuclear weaponry is unacceptable to this country and to the Middle East." Columnist Gary Leupp describes Romney's comments as "gibberish".

On February 22, 2007 Romney urged New York state officials to divest satte funds from companies doing business With Iran: "With your new responsibilities overseeing one of America's largest pension funds, you have a unique opportunity to lead an effort to isolate Iran as it pursues nuclear armament." Source: Glen Johnson. "Romney Calls on N.Y. to Screen Pensions." Associated Press. February 22, 2007. News Report Good luck finding any such investments!

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