Editor's Note: Mitt Romney dropped out of the presidential race on Feb. 7 after the Super Tuesday primaries.
Political Party: Republican
Current Position: Businessman
Political Experience: Head of the 2002 Salt Lake City Organizing Committee; Governor of Massachusetts, 2003-2007
This is not original reporting. All information has been compiled from The Washington Post, CNN, On the Issues and Romney's web site. Silver Chips Online posts this news summary to provide readers with a forum for discussion.
As Governor of Massachusetts, Romney learned to balance his political ideals with those of his generally left-leaning constituents. Consequently, he has often been attacked by other candidates for his positions on abortion, same-sex marriage and other issues, even though he has begun to take more conservative stances.
When Romney was governor, he supported abolishing the federal Department of Education. Since then, he has gradually changed his views and now supports No Child Left Behind (NCLB), though he believes that it isn't perfect and needs change. As an incentive, Romney would give states more flexibility in measuring performance if they test at or above the mandated level. In addition, he believes in encouraging individual student progress instead of the progress of a school as a whole to ensure that students do not fall behind.
Before and during the early days of his governorship, Romney was somewhat impartial to abortion. As a senatorial candidate in 1994, he was pro-choice, and even during his first years as governor, he did not interfere with a woman's right to choose. But in recent years, Romney has turned pro-life and only supports abortion in cases of rape, incest or danger to the mother's life. He also supports the overturning of Roe v. Wade and believes that states should decide abortion's legality.
Unlike his views on abortion, Romney's views on illegal immigration have remained unchanged. During his term as governor, Romney opposed benefits for illegal immigrants. He authorized using force to enforce immigration laws and vetoed a bill that would have given illegal immigrants in-state tuition rates at state colleges. Currently, Romney supports increasing legal immigration but opposes giving legal status to individuals who immigrated illegally. Furthermore, Romney would reject amnesty for illegal immigrants, strengthen enforcement of immigration laws and introduce a national database where employers can verify that their employees are legal immigrants, according to his campaign web site.
Romney's position on the war in Iraq has also remained static. He supports President Bush's actions, including his veto of a bill that set a time-table for the withdrawal of U.S. troops and his plan to increase the number of troops involved in the conflict. Romney believes U.S. troops are needed in Iraq to prevent civil strife and to stop Al-Qaeda from taking over the region.
One of Romney's biggest hurdles is Americans' perception of Mormonism, his religion. As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints, Romney faces opposition from the religious south. On Dec. 6, 2007, Romney addressed concerns over his religion in his "Faith in America" speech, where he advocated the separation of church and state. If elected, Romney will be the first non-Protestant president since President John Kennedy in 1961.
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