Where does Romney stand? Let's go to the replay

By The Fiscal Times Oct 31, 2012 2:06PM
By Josh BoakThe Fiscal Times logo

It’s no secret that Mitt Romney has embraced being a political chameleon by changing positions from the primaries debates on key issues.

President Obama has slammed him for a nebulous tax policy, but with little apparent impact as the Nov. 6 election draws closer and both candidates are even in national polls. In some instances, the former Massachusetts governor had to walk back comments—such as his claim that 47 percent of the country are takers who see themselves as victims—that he says were either taken out of context or expressed inelegantly.

The Fiscal Times examined how Romney has cast himself on five key issues, as part of a broader assessment that will include an analysis later this week of Obama’s unfulfilled promises. The transformations and subtle tweaks to Romney’s positions can be interpreted as evidence of a nuanced and flexible mind or, cynically, as pandering to different interest groups. But either way, even if you sometimes struggle to know just where Romney stands … you can at least see how he moves.

Romney stresses that he’s pro-life and will support those policies, but his past statements have blurred the degree of his commitment. The conventional wisdom holds that to win the election he must appease his more conservative supporters, while not alienating women voters whose backing could prove decisive.

Then: "I will preserve and protect a woman's right to choose," Romney said during a 2002 gubernatorial debate. "I am not going to change our pro-choice laws in Massachusetts in any way. I am not going to make any changes which would make it more difficult for a woman to make that choice herself.

Later: When asked at a 2007 GOP primary presidential debate about signing a law to ban all abortions, Romney said, "I would welcome a circumstance where there was such a consensus in this country that we said, ‘We don't want to have abortion in this country at all, period. That would be wonderful. I'd be delighted.’"

Even Later: "I am pro-life and believe that abortion should be limited to only instances of rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother,” he wrote in National Review last year. “I support the reversal of Roe vs. Wade, because it is bad law and bad medicine."

Still Later: "There’s no legislation with regards to abortion that I’m familiar with that would become part of my agenda," he told the Des Moines Register editorial board on Oct. 9, 2012.
Now: "The actions I’ll take immediately is to remove funding for Planned Parenthood. It will not be part of my budget,” Romney told reporters the day after his Oct. 9 comment. “And also I’ve indicated that I will reverse the Mexico City position of the president. I will reinstate the Mexico City policy which keeps us from using foreign aid for abortions overseas."

A government program to aid the millions of underwater homeowners carries the stigma of a bailout, even if refinancing mortgages or forgiving principal on home loans helped economic growth.

Romney initially favored letting the market—broken and leaning heavily on the government conservatorship of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac—run its course. His thinking has since evolved.

Then: "Don't try to stop the foreclosure process," Romney told the Las Vegas Review Journal last October.  "Let it run its course and hit the bottom."

Now: Romney backs the government selling off 200,000 foreclosed homes that it owns and providing current homeowners with “foreclosure alternatives,” but his website doesn’t spell out what those alternatives would be. “Now, there are also some things we have to do to make housing work right here in Nevada,” Romney said at a Sept. 21 rally in Las Vegas. “We have to reignite the housing economy here so that home values start going up again.”

In a bid to get support from voters in Ohio, Pennsylvania and southwestern Pennsylvania, Obama and Romney have portrayed themselves as friends of coal. But both candidates have a rocky relationship with the fossil fuel.

For Obama, it’s the contradiction of new EPA regulations on coal-fired power plants with proud claims that coal industry employment has improved under his watch. But for Romney, it’s the inconsistency of a Massachusetts governor who claimed that a coal plant “kills” and a presidential candidate who hails the mines as sources of jobs.

Then: When the coal-burning Salem Harbor Power Station tried to delay its time for complying with Massachusetts emissions laws, a then-Gov. Romney stood outside the plant on Feb. 6, 2003 and said: "I will not create jobs or hold jobs that kill people, and that plant -- that plant kills people."

Now: Romney visited Beallsville, Ohio on Aug. 14, 2012—surrounded by coal miners—and declared, “We’ve 250 years left of coal. Why in the world wouldn’t we use it?” according to The Blade of Toledo, Ohio.

“We’re going to take advantage of our energy resources to save your jobs, create more jobs, and, by the way, when we use our plentiful energy resources, our inexpensive carbon-based resources, you’re going to see manufacturing come back to America,” he said.

As college tuitions surge, the amount of outstanding student loan debt has climbed past $1 trillion. Adding to the trouble was that interest rates were set to double on federally subsidized student loans, an increase that was averted by a compromise among Obama, House Republicans and Senate Democrats.

And within about a month, Romney went from telling current and prospective university students not to expect more government help on college to endorsing the $6 billion deal to keep Stafford loan interest rates at 3.4 percent for another year. He positioned his switch as a response to unemployment among recent college grads, even though the measure applied to students this academic year. Romney has since returned to promises that he would limit the government’s role in student lending.

The Republican nominee wants to re-introduce private firms into the federal student loan market, claiming the companies would lower default rates that are largely driven by unchecked debt loans and high unemployment.

Then: “It would be popular for me to stand up and say I’m going to give you government money to pay for your college, but I’m not going to promise that,” Romney said at a March 5, 2012 town hall in Youngstown, Ohio. “Don’t just go to one that has the highest price. Go to one that has a little lower price where you can get a good education. And hopefully you’ll find that. And don’t expect the government to forgive the debt that you take on.”

Later: “I fully support the effort to extend the low interest rate on student loans,” Romney said at an April 23, 2012 news conference. “There was some concern that that would expire halfway through the year, and I support extending the temporary relief on interest rates for students as a result of student loans, obviously, in part because of the extraordinarily poor conditions in the job market.”

Now: By August, Romney was back to saying the government would not provide debt relief. “Now I know it is very tempting as a politician to go out and say, you know what, I’ll just give you some money,” he said Aug. 20, 2012 in Manchester, NH. “The government’s just going to give you some money and pay back your loans for you. I’m not going to tell you something that’s not the truth.

The most prominent recent piece of legislation on legal residency was the DREAM Act. It would grant permanent residency to the children of illegal immigrants who either serve in the military or pursue higher education. The bill failed to clear the 60-vote threshold for a Senate vote in 2010.

Romney has endorsed the somewhat murky policy of “self-deportation” and pledged an overhaul to streamline the immigration process, but he initially pledged to veto the DREAM Act. It’s an obstacle as he tries to bolster his support among Latinos. Then: “If I were elected and Congress were to pass the DREAM Act, would I veto it?” he said on Dec. 31, 2011 in Le Mars, Iowa. “And the answer is yes. I’m delighted with the idea that people who come to this country and wish to serve in the military can be given a path to become permanent residents in this country. Those who serve in our military and fulfill those requirements, I respect and acknowledge that path. For those that come here illegally, the idea of giving them in-state tuition credits or other special benefits I find to be the contrary to the idea of a nation of law. If I’m the president of the United States I want to end illegal immigration so that we can protect legal immigration.”

Romney tempered that stance at the Oct. 16 presidential debate, saying that military service was only a “for instance” of how those children could obtain residency—implying but not stating that other avenues were possible.

Now: “The kids of those that came here illegally, those kids, I think, should have a pathway to become a permanent resident of the United States and military service, for instance, is one way they would have that kind of pathway to become a permanent resident.”

Josh Boak is a national correspondent at The Fiscal Times. Subscribe to The Fiscal Times' FREE newsletter.

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Nov 1, 2012 10:33AM
I see a lot of panic from the freeloading dems. Oh my, they may have to work , and even pay taxes.
Nov 1, 2012 10:21AM
Nov 1, 2012 10:13AM
Does not matter who wins; either way, the vast majority of US citizens loose. 2016 campaigning will begin Nov. 7th to insure no one beyond the "Big 2" (Dem/Rep) has a chance no matter how much better a choice they would be. Let the fund raising begin - the 2 billion spent on campaigns for a $400,000 job seems a little suspicious maybe?  
Nov 1, 2012 10:11AM
Eventually Romney comes around to endorse Obama's policies, except he won't give the President any credit and wants to put his name on them.
Nov 1, 2012 10:03AM
Here's one thing Romney hasn't flip-flopped on:

"Corporations are people my friend."

What does that mean? He'd never propose or support the overturning of Citizens United.
Nope, keep that big money flowing in to buy laws and loopholes and sway elections.

Nov 1, 2012 9:56AM
Romney says it's fair for middle class workers with average income to pay a higher tax rate than the wealthy pay.

He cares so much about the middle class, he's unwilling to tell us which tax deductions he'll eliminate.
Nov 1, 2012 9:51AM
Romney doesn't know where Romney stands
Nov 1, 2012 9:49AM
flippity floppity flippity floppity flippity floppity fooo
Nov 1, 2012 9:48AM

Here are just a few positions that Obama has had:


The deficit is irresponsible, I will cut the deficit in half". Typical democrat that has math issues, he raised the debt by $6 Trillion.


The stimulus will lower the unemployment to 5.4%. Actually unemployment is over 11% ( demo math again). 13 million more on foodstamps.


"I will run the most transparent adminisistration in history". Sealed documents, no comments, backroom deals, pass it to see whats in it, classifying his screwups as secret, and out right LYING.


"There will be no lobyists in the WhiteHouse while I'M president". He's setting records for lobyiist visits.


"I won't raise taxes on the middle class", Obamacare is a tax, thats the only way it passed the Supreme Court.


" I got bin laden", No, the seals did, he only allowed them to perform thier duty.


He did get Ambassodr Stebvens killed though, and fired an admiral and general for trying to help while he was too obsessed with his Vegas trip to send help.



Nov 1, 2012 3:30AM
Save your ink. It's election time now. It tickles me that the BO campaign says they won't let a Romney wave take place. What are they gong to do----beat up the voters? BO's day of reckoning is at hand.
Nov 1, 2012 2:41AM
Proof positive that the Prez, the media, and Wall Street are all kissing each other. Romney will win because of his hairdo and his appearance; he reminds people of Superman, especially when he has that curl hanging over his forehead. Look at the Superman comics. The average American who is old enough to vote has the mentality of a twelve year old.  Romney will also win because of the way governmental employees disrespect the general public (mainly the post office). The Secret Service incident with the prostitutes in Columbia also reflect that the Prez doesn't have control of federal employees. The people are fed up with federal employees and will hold the Prez responsible and boot him out of office.

Here's an example of what Madison Ave., Hollywood and the politicians think of the average American's mentality. Dean Martin was a very popular entertainer and was doing will in the 1970's. Mr. Martin had trouble seeing and reading cue cards. Do you think somebody could tell the home and studio audiences that Mr. Martin had trouble reading and that they would have to put up with it while he was performing? No, the answer was to put a drink in his hand and make it look as though he were under the influence of alcohol. One of his daughters wrote a book after Mr. Martin died stating that the glasses were filled with apple juice. The whole drunky Dean routine was done  so people wouldn't think he was squinting to see the cue cards. Also, generally speaking, people like to drink alcoholic beverages and they could readily relate to Mr. Martin ostensibly being addicted to alcoholic beverages. I think his daughter said that Mr. Maratin never had a serious drinking problem. Mr. Martin died of respiratory problems probably caused from his smoking cigarettes.

Again, here is a charade which the public falls for and goes along with because they don't want to think that their hero has a problem with his vision. Nobody ever went broke underestimating the average American mentality. We could go on and on with Elvis, Marilyn, etc.

Shakespeare: "Oh what fools these mortals be." Or as the Doobie Brothers sing: "What a fool believes he sees. No wise man has the power to reason away. What seems to be is always better than nothing or nothing at all."

Romney 51.5%; Obama 48.5%.

Oct 31, 2012 11:50PM

Oh...msn. You are losing it. The more votes Obama is loosing the more the articles are becoming despereate and childishly tendentious. They are like Soviet and Estern Europe postwar propaganda almost grotesque but they serve the purpose to support the law of  lying that "There's nothing so absurd that if you repeat it often enough, people will believe it." After all all famous (infamous!) people used it through the history. Unfortunatelly for regular folks it means years of starvation before they become to understand that in order to see the future you need to look in the past and they will start to educate themselves and seek the truth. History repets itself for thousand of years and only a few wonder how such magnificent empires vanished so quickly during only one ruler reign after thousands  or  hundreds years of prosperity. I believe the current President will make his huge mark in the history.

It does not matter if Mr Romney lived in Egypt, Greece, Rome, Medieval Poland or Russia, he would and will loose. He is offering something that no one with an average IQ in any empire at this stage of evolution wants:: "JOBS". We do not need any jobs, army or taxes! We are "the chosen ones" (by whatever god you believe in) to rule the world. We are the superior nation.... oops. Am I getting too far?. 



Oct 31, 2012 10:21PM

WHERE ROMNEY STAND? LET'S SEE , I ASK MANY OF MY ASSOCIATES IF THEY KNOW WHAT YOUR PRESIDENTAL POLICIES ARE ABOUT, BUT THEY COULD NOT MENTIONED A SINGLE ONE,  AND STILL IN SEVEN DAYS YOU ARE RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT, WHAT A JOKE!  The big news today Oct 13, 2012, is that another Company in Illinois making sensors (SENSATA), for automobiles was closed a week ago, all personnel terminated ( FIRED), with no job because the Company presently owned by Bain Corporation decided to make a larger profit by outsourcing the Company! All equipment and assembly of sensors work is now quickly outsourced to China! This is the sickness that has been killing us, our economy, and our working force for the last fourteen years , as you know it all began with Bush, Mitt Romney and the Bain Corporation, and many other Large Corporations in the USA. We better stop outsourcing our work to other countries now or we will die as a powerful country! I can't believe we still have the courage to blame Obama for the problems of lack of jobs in our USA for the last four years. Just give the citizens a brake, and stop making more lies of why the economy does not make good progress, to include the perversity of Congress a snake nest of Tea Party, and Republican members opposing every Jobs Bills that Obama proposes.You need to know that from 2000 to 2008,the Bush years, 8.3 million service, and assembly jobs have been outsource to China, India, and Mexico! Mitt, you are a lost cause; you change your mind every time you get out of bed. You are very dangerous to the American people because we do not know for sure what you are going to do if accidentally you become president, with your liar side kick Ryan, you will take many position dealing in foreign policy, and will prove to be a killer for us, like Iraq and Afghanistan nightmare. Citizens wake up, vote for Obama president on November 6, 2012 or earlier!
Oct 31, 2012 8:37PM
If you don't like Romney's policies, wait 5 minutes, they'll change. His faith based recovery plan depends on your faith that he might mean what he says now if that's what you want to believe and if you don't believe him, he'll tell you something else. If you want to vote Romney Ryan and you're not a multi millionaire,my only question for you is: ARE YOU FEELING LUCKY PUNK????
Oct 31, 2012 7:26PM

Romney said he wants to end corporate taxes,the death tax,and capital gains.Just who is going

to pay the taxes? Oh, I guess that would be the working class.By ending capital gains his

income just went up $3,000,000 a year.Now, that`s fair!Send jobs to China and save your-

self 3 mill.

Oct 31, 2012 4:55PM
Oct 31, 2012 4:48PM

What about taxes?

Romney's tax plan would eliminate taxes on capital gains, interest, and dividends

Also eliminate taxes on inheritance.

But, I will bet that those plans would exclude the tax elimination on 401K's and IRA's.

Also inheritance of a 401K or IRA would retain the same tax implications that they currently do

(the reciever of this inheritance would need to roll it over into their own IRA and pay taxes when they withdraw it, or pay taxes and penalty if they cash out, before they are 59 1/2.


Romney wants to push most taxes onto the middle class, while making the very rich tax free.


Oct 31, 2012 3:50PM
You don't really have the space that it would take to fully nuance all the multi-various positions Robme has taken on these issues. Had he the time, I've no doubt that he'd find a few more stances to take in case he hasn't pandered to all the varied groups compromising the electorate. If he's elected, we shall see the greatest about-face in modern politics, because the folks who've bankrolled him will resume pulling on his marionette strings once again.
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