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Mitt Romney

In office
January 2, 2003 – January 4, 2007
Lieutenant Kerry Healey
Preceded by Jane Swift (acting)
Succeeded by Deval Patrick

Born March 12, 1947 (1947-03-12) (age 63)
Detroit, Michigan
Birth name Willard Mitt Romney
Nationality American
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Ann Romney
Children Tagg (b. 1970), Matt (b. 1971), Josh (b. 1975), Ben (b. 1978), Craig (b. 1981)
Residence Belmont, Massachusetts
San Diego, California
Alma mater Brigham Young University (B.A.)
Harvard Business School (M.B.A.)
Harvard Law School (J.D.)
Profession Businessman, Politician
Religion The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints ("Mormon")
The Mitt Romney series

Governor of Massachusetts, 2003–2007
Presidential campaign, 2007–2008
Political positions
Public image

Willard Mitt Romney (born March 12, 1947) is an American businessman, Republican Party politician, and the 70th Governor of Massachusetts from 2003 to 2007. He is the son of American Motors chairman, three-term Michigan Governor, 1968 presidential candidate, and U.S. Cabinet Secretary George W. Romney, and 1970 Michigan U.S. Senatorial candidate Lenore Romney.

Romney was raised in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan and served as a Mormon missionary in France. He attended Stanford University and Brigham Young University as an undergraduate, then earned a joint Juris Doctor/Master of Business Administration degree from the Harvard Law School and Harvard Business School. He entered the management consulting business and became CEO of Bain & Company and co-founder of Bain Capital, a private equity investment firm. He ran as the Republican candidate in the 1994 U.S. Senate election in Massachusetts but lost to incumbent Edward M. Kennedy. Romney successfully organized and steered the 2002 Winter Olympics as President and CEO of the Salt Lake Organizing Committee.[1]

Romney won the election for Governor of Massachusetts in 2002. In his one term, he presided over a series of spending cuts and increases in fees while the state's finances improved. He signed into law the landmark Massachusetts health care reform legislation, which expanded health insurance access via subsidies and mandates. Romney was a candidate for the Republican nomination in the 2008 United States presidential election, winning several caucuses and primaries but ultimately losing to John McCain. Since then has published a book and given speeches and raised campaign funds on behalf of fellow Republicans. He is widely seen as a front-runner for the Republican nomination in the 2012 presidential election.[2]


Early life and early education

Romney was born in Detroit, Michigan.[3] He was the fourth and last child of George W. Romney, a man of humble upbringing who had become an automobile executive, and Lenore Romney;[4] the three siblings before him were Margo Lynn, Jane LaFount, and G. Scott.[5] Romney was named after hotel magnate J. Willard Marriott, his father's best friend,[6] and the nickname of his father's cousin Milton Romney,[7] who played quarterback for the Chicago Bears from 1925 to 1929.[8] The youngster was called "Billy" until he reached kindergarten, when he indicated a preference for "Mitt".[9]

When Mitt was five, the family moved from Detroit to the affluent suburb of Bloomfield Hills.[4] His father became CEO of American Motors and turned the company around from the brink of bankruptcy with his promotion of the fuel efficient, compact Rambler.[4] By the time Mitt was twelve, his father had became a nationally-known figure in the print and on television.[10][4] Mitt idolized him, kept abreast of automotive developments, and aspired to be an executive in the industry himself one day.[4][11] His father also presided over the Detroit Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to which the family belonged.[12]

Mitt went to public elementary schools,[9] and then from seventh grade on, attended Cranbrook School in Bloomfield Hills, an elite private boys school where many students came from even more privileged backgrounds.[4][13] He was an indifferent athlete and at first an underachieving student.[4] While a sophomore, his father was elected Governor of Michigan. George Romney was a popular governor who was elected for three two-year terms; Mitt worked for him as a campaign aide and an intern in the governor's office, and was present at the 1964 Republican National Convention when his moderate father battled conservative party nominee Barry Goldwater over issues of civil rights and ideological extremism.[4][11] Mitt did not flaunt the connection with his father to his friends nor did he trade in on his father's famous name to gain any advantages for himself.[9][11]

Romney enjoyed partying and was known as a kinetic kid who loved to pull off non-malicious pranks, such as sliding down golf courses on large ice cubes, dressing as a police officer and tapping on the car windows of teenage friends making out, and staging an elaborate formal dinner in the center of a busy intersection.[9][4][13] During his final years at Cranbook, he joined the cross country running team[9] and improved academically but was still not a star pupil.[4][13] His social skills were strong, however, and he won an award for those "whose contributions to school life are often not fully recognized through already existing channels."[13] In March of his senior year, he began dating Ann Davies, two years behind him, whom he had once known in elementary school;[14][15] she went to the private Kingswood School in Bloomfield Hills, the sister school to Cranbrook.[13] The two informally agreed to marriage after his senior prom in June 1965, which was shortly followed by his graduation.[4][15][16]

Romney attended Stanford University for a year.[4] Although the campus was becoming radicalized with the beginnings of 1960s social and political movements, Romney kept a clean-cut, Chamber of Commerce-style appearance, enjoying traditional campus events and in one case even protesting against group of protesters staging a sit-in.[4]

Missionary work, later education, marriage and family

In 1966, Romney left for France for 30 months as a Mormon missionary,[4] a traditional duty that his father and other relatives had done before him.[17] He arrived with ideas about how to change the French Mission and better market their presence; he approached his duties with zeal, while facing physical and economic deprivation for the first time in his life in the mission's cramped quarters.[18][17] Rules against drinking, smoking, and dating were strictly enforced.[18] Like most Mormon missionaries, he failed to gain many converts, with the Catholic or secular, wine-loving French people proving especially resistant.[4][17][18] He became demoralized, and later recalled it as the only time in his life when “most of what I was trying to do was rejected.”[17] He continued to work hard, however, and after gaining a promotion in early 1968, he was still looking to rise higher in the mission.[17] In June 1968, Romney was involved in a serious car accident while driving fellow missionaries on dangerous roads in southern France.[4][19] A Mercedes that was passing a truck missed a curve and suddenly swerved into the opposite lane and hit the Citroën DS Romney was driving.[20] In the crash, Romney was knocked out and seriously injured, and momentarily labeled as dead by French authorities; the wife of the mission president was killed.[19] The fault for the accident was attributed completely to the driver of the other vehicle.[19][17] Romney recovered quickly from his injuries, and by the end of his mission in December 1968, he was overseeing the work of 175 fellow members.[19][17] Both the accident and the overall missionary experience changed Romney, giving him both an appreciation for the fragility of life and an ambition, capacity for organization, and seriousness of purpose that he had heretofore lacked.[4][18][19] It also presented a crucible for his religious faith, after having been only a half-hearted Mormon growing up: “On a mission, your faith in Jesus Christ either evaporates or it becomes much deeper. For me it became much deeper.”[17]

While he was away, Ann Davies had converted on her own to the LDS Church during 1966, guided by George Romney, and had begun attending Brigham Young University.[15][4] He was quite nervous that she had been wooed by others while he was away, and indeed she had dated others, but at their first meeting following his return they reconnected and agreed to get married as soon as possible.[21][15] Romney married Ann Davies on March 21, 1969, in a Bloomfield Hills civil ceremony presided over by a church elder.[22][21] The following day the couple flew to Utah for a wedding ceremony at the Salt Lake Temple.[22][21]

In order to be closer to her, Romney began attending Brigham Young University as well.[9] Romney had missed much of the anti-Vietnam War movement and associated tumult while away, and was surprised to find out that his father had turned against the war during his ill-fated 1968 presidential campaign.[17] Regarding his own status regarding the military draft, Romney had initially gotten a student deferment, then like most other Mormorn missionaries he had received a ministerial deferment from the while in France.[17][23] Following his return, Romney got another student deferment.[23] When those ran out and he became eligible for military service in 1970, his high number in the annual draft lottery (300) meant he would not be drafted.[23][17]

At the culturally conservative Brigham Young, Romney continued to be sheltered from much of the upheaval of the era, and did not join in the few protests against the war or against the LDS Church's policy against giving full membership to blacks.[17] He became president of an all-male social club and showed a newfound discipline in his studies.[17] In his senior year he took time off to return to Michigan to help his mother Lenore Romney in her eventually unsuccessful 1970 campaign for the U.S. Senate.[21] He graduated from Brigham Young in 1971, earning a Bachelor of Arts in English and giving commencement addresses to both his own College of Humanities and to the university's entire graduating class.[nb 1]

The Romneys' first son, Tagg, was born in 1970[21] while both were undergraduates at Brigham Young,[24] living in a $75-a-month basement apartment.[17] They subsequently had Matt (born 1971), Josh (born 1975), Ben (born 1978) and Craig (born 1981).[21] Ann Romney's work as a stay-at-home mom would enable her husband to pursue his career, first in business and then in politics.[25]

Romney still wanted to pursue a business career, but his father, who by now was serving in President Richard Nixon's cabinet as U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, recommended that a law degree would be valuable.[26] Thus Romney became one of only 15 students to enroll at the recently created and prestigious joint Juris Doctor/Master of Business Administration four-year program coordinated between Harvard Law School and Harvard Business School.[27] Fellow students noted Romney's strong work ethic and buttoned-down appearance;[27] he lived in a Belmont, Massachusetts house with Ann and by now two children.[21] He graduated in 1975 cum laude from the law school, representing a standing in the top third of that class, and was named a Baker Scholar for graduating in the top five percent of his business school class.[27][28]

Business career

After graduation, Romney remained in Massachusetts and went to work for the Boston Consulting Group, where he had interned during the summer of 1974.[29] Romney rapidly progressed through the ranks and from 1978 to 1984, he was the vice president of Bain & Company, Inc., another management consulting firm based in Boston. In 1984, Romney left Bain & Company to co-found a spin-off private equity investment firm, Bain Capital.[30] During the 14 years he successfully headed the company, Bain Capital's average annual internal rate of return on realized investments was 113 percent,[31] making money primarily through leveraged buyouts.[32] He invested in or bought many well-known companies such as Staples, Brookstone, Domino's, Sealy Corporation and Sports Authority.[33]

In 1990, Romney was asked to return to Bain & Company, which was facing financial collapse. As CEO, Romney managed an effort to restructure the firm's employee stock-ownership plan, real-estate deals and bank loans, while increasing fiscal transparency. Within a year, he had led Bain & Company through a highly successful turnaround and returned the firm to profitability without layoffs or partner defections.[31]

Romney left Bain Capital in 1998 serve as the President and CEO of the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympic Games Organizing Committee.[34] He and his wife have a net worth of between 250 and 500 million USD,[35][36] not including Romney's blind trust in the name of their children, which is valued at about $100 million.[37]

1994 senatorial campaign

In 1994, Romney decided to take on longtime incumbent Democratic Senator Ted Kennedy. He won the Massachusetts Republican Party's nomination for U.S. Senate after defeating businessman John Lakian in the primary.[38] In the general election, Kennedy faced the first serious re-election challenger of his career in the young, telegenic, and very well funded Romney.[39] Romney ran as a successful entrepreneur and Washington outsider with a strong family image and moderate stands on social issues;[39] after two decades out of public view, his father George re-emerged during the campaign as well.[40][41] Kennedy was more vulnerable than usual in 1994, in part because of the unpopularity of the Democratic Congress as a whole and also because this was Kennedy's first election since the William Kennedy Smith trial in Florida, in which Kennedy had taken some public relations hits regarding his character.[42][39]

By mid-September 1994, polls showed the race to be even.[39][43][44] Kennedy responded with a series of attack ads, which focused both on Romney's apparently shifting political views on issues such as abortion and on the treatment of workers at a paper products plant owned by Romney's Bain Capital.[39][45][46] Kennedy won a key October debate against Romney as he reconnected with his traditional bases of support.[39] Romney spent over $7 million of his own money, with Kennedy spending more than $10 million from his campaign fund, mostly in the last weeks of the campaign (this was the second-most expensive race of the 1994 election cycle, after the Dianne FeinsteinMichael Huffington Senate race in California).[47]

In the November general election, despite a poor showing for Democrats overall, Kennedy won the election with 58 percent of the vote to Romney's 41 percent, the second-smallest margin in Kennedy's nine elections to the Senate.[48]

2002 Winter Olympics

Romney served as president and CEO of the 2002 Olympic Winter Games held in Salt Lake City. In 1999, before Romney was hired, the event was running $379 million short of its revenue benchmarks. Plans were being made to scale back the games to compensate for the fiscal crisis.[49] The Games were also damaged by allegations of bribery involving top officials, including then Salt Lake Olympic Committee (SLOC) President and CEO Frank Joklik. Joklik and SLOC vice president Dave Johnson were forced to resign.[50]

On February 11, 1999, Romney was hired as the new president and CEO of the Salt Lake Organizing Committee.[51] Romney revamped the organization's leadership and policies, organized 23,000 volunteers, reduced budgets, and boosted fund raising. He also worked to ensure the safety of the Games following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 by coordinating a $300 million security budget.[52] Despite the initial fiscal shortfall, the Games ended up clearing a profit of $100 million, not counting the $224.5 million in security costs contributed by outside sources. Romney holds the record for most private money raised by any individual for the Winter Olympics.[53][54]

Romney contributed $1 million to the Olympics, and donated the $825,000 salary he earned as President and CEO to charity.[55] He wrote a book about his experience titled Turnaround: Crisis, Leadership, and the Olympic Games.[56] Romney was widely praised for his successful efforts to turn around the 2002 Winter Olympics.[57]

Governor of Massachusetts

2002 gubernatiorial campaign

In 2002, Republican Acting Governor Jane Swift's administration was plagued by political missteps and personal scandals.[58] Many Republicans viewed her as a liability and considered her unable to win a general election against a Democrat.[59] Prominent GOP activists campaigned to persuade Romney to run for governor.[60] One poll taken at this time showed that Republicans favoring Romney over Swift by more than 50 percentage points.[61] Swift decided not to seek her party's nomination, and Romney was unopposed in the Republican party primary.[62]

Massachusetts Democratic Party officials claimed that Romney was ineligible to run for governor, citing residency issues involving Romney's residency in Utah during his time as president of the Salt Lake City Olympic Committee.[63] In June 2002, the Massachusetts State Ballot Law Commission unanimously ruled that Romney was eligible to run for office.[64]

Supporters of Romney hailed his business record, especially his success with the 2002 Olympics, as that of one who would be able to bring a new era of efficiency into Massachusetts politics.[62] Romney contributed $6.3 million to his own campaign during the election, a state record at the time.[65] Romney was elected Governor in November 2002 with 50 percent of the vote over his Democratic opponent, Massachusetts State Treasurer Shannon O'Brien,[62] who received 45 percent of the vote.[66]

Tenure, 2003–2007

Governor Mitt Romney poses with a prototype of a one hundred dollar laptop in September 2005, after filing a proposal to give every public middle and high school student in Massachusetts one of the machines. The legislation did not pass.

Romney was sworn in as the 70th governor of Massachusetts on January 2, 2003. Upon entering office, Romney faced a projected $3 billion deficit, but a previously enacted $1.3 billion capital gains tax increase and $500 million in unanticipated federal grants decreased the deficit to $1.2 billion.[67] Through a combination of spending cuts, increased fees, and removal of corporate tax loopholes, by 2006 the state had a $700 million surplus and was able to cut taxes.[68][69]

Romney supported raising various fees by more than $300 million, including those for driver's licenses, marriage licenses, and gun licenses.[69] Romney increased the state gasoline fee by 2 cents per gallon, generating about $60 million per year in additional revenue.[70] Romney also closed tax loopholes that brought in another $181 million from businesses over the next two years.[70] The state legislature, with Romney's support, also cut spending by $1.6 billion, including $700 million in reductions in state aid to cities and towns.[71] The cuts also included a $140 million reduction in state funding for higher education, which led state-run colleges and universities to increase tuition by 63%.[70] Romney sought additional cuts in his last year as Massachusetts governor by vetoing nearly 250 items in the state budget. All of those vetoes were overturned by the Democratic dominated legislature.[72]

The combined state and local fee burden in Massachusetts increased during Romney's governorship but still was below the national average.[70] According to the Tax Foundation, that per capita burden was 9.8% in 2002 (below the national average of 10.3%), and 10.5% in 2006 (below the national average of 10.8%).[73]

On April 12, 2006, Romney signed the Massachusetts health reform law which requires nearly all Massachusetts residents to buy health insurance coverage or face the loss of their personal income tax exemption. The bill also establishes means-tested state subsidies for people who do not have adequate employer insurance and who make below an income threshold, by using funds previously designated to compensate for the health costs of the uninsured.[74][75][76] He vetoed eight sections of the health care legislation, including an employer assessment[77] and provisions providing health coverage to senior and disabled legal immigrants not eligible for federal Medicaid.[78][79] The legislature overrode all eight vetoes. Romney's communications director Eric Fehrnstrom responded saying "These differences with the Legislature are not essential to the goal of getting everyone covered with insurance."

At the beginning of his governorship, Romney opposed same-sex marriage and civil unions.[80][81] Faced with the dilemma of choosing between same-sex marriage or civil unions after the November 2003 Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court decision legalizing same-sex marriages (Goodridge v. Department of Public Health), Romney reluctantly backed a state constitutional amendment in February 2004 that would have banned same-sex marriage but still allow civil unions, viewing it as the only feasible way to ban same-sex marriage in Massachusetts.[82] In May 2004 Romney instructed town clerks to begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, but citing a 1913 law that barred out-of-state residents from getting married in Massachusetts if their union would be illegal in their home state,[83][84] no marriage licenses were to be issued to out-of-state same-sex couples not planning to move to Massachusetts. In June 2005, Romney abandoned his support for the compromise amendment, stating that the amendment confused voters who oppose both same-sex marriage and civil unions. Instead, Romney endorsed a petition effort led by the Coalition for Marriage & Family that would have banned same-sex marriage and made no provisions for civil unions.[85] In 2006 he urged the U.S. Senate to vote in favor of the Marriage Protection Amendment.[86][87]

On December 14, 2005, Romney announced that he would not seek re-election for a second term as governor.[88][89] Romney filed papers to establish a formal exploratory presidential campaign committee the next to last day in office as governor.[90] This solidified suspicions that had been circulating as early as 2005 that Romney would attempt to run for President.[91] Romney's term ended January 4, 2007.

Approval ratings as governor

Romney had a difficult time maintaining his approval ratings in office as governor of liberal Massachusetts in the wake of the legalization of gay marriage and the fall of Bush's approval ratings. For the majority of Romney's term (until early 2006) however, his approval ratings were in positive territory. After Democrat Deval Patrick succeeded Romney as Governor of Massachusetts, Patrick's approval rating was 33% in April 2009 and 49% said Romney did a better job as governor than Patrick.[92]

2008 presidential campaign

Mitt and Ann at a 2008 Campaign event in New Hampshire
2008 presidential campaign logo
Mitt campaigning at Saint Anselm College's New Hampshire Institute of Politics

Since the 2004 Republican National Convention, Romney had been discussed as a potential 2008 presidential candidate.[93] On January 3, 2007, two days before he stepped down as governor of Massachusetts, Romney filed to register a presidential campaign exploratory committee with the Federal Election Commission.[94][95] Romney formally announced his candidacy for the 2008 Republican nomination for president on February 13, 2007.

In the January 2008 Iowa Caucus, the first contest of the primary elections, Romney received 25% of the vote and placed second to Mike Huckabee, who received 34%.[96][97] A few days later, Romney won the Wyoming Republican Caucuses.[98] Though Romney campaigned hard in New Hampshire, stopping at Saint Anselm College's New Hampshire Institute of Politics, the University of New Hampshire as well as local restaurants in Manchester, Romney finished in second place behind John McCain in the New Hampshire primary on January 8, 2008.[99] In the January 15 Michigan primary, Romney won with 39% of the vote, followed by McCain (30%), Huckabee (16%), and others.[100] On January 19, Romney won the Nevada caucuses, but placed fourth in the South Carolina primary. Romney then came in second behind John McCain in the Florida primary on January 29, and came in first ahead of John McCain in the Maine caucuses on February 2, giving McCain an overall 97-92 lead over Romney in delegates to the 2008 Republican National Convention.[101] According to US election polls, going into Super Tuesday, Mitt Romney led in California (40% - 32% John McCain), Massachusetts (55% - 23%), Colorado (43% - 24%), and Utah (65% - 6%).[102] McCain led in 12 states and was 21 points ahead of Romney in national polls.[103]

Romney at a rally in January 2008

Romney partly financed his campaign with his own personal fortune, contributing over $35 million of the $90 million raised by his campaign, as of December 31, 2007.[104]

Following the results of the 2008 Super Tuesday primaries, Romney suspended his campaign for the presidential nomination on February 7, 2008.[105][106][107] He stated that by staying in the race he would only "forestall the launch of a national campaign and frankly I'd be making it easier for Senator Clinton or Senator Barack Obama to win. And in this time of war, I simply cannot let my campaign be a part of aiding surrender to terror." He went on to say "I am convinced that unless America changes course, 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."[108]

Romney won 11 states primaries and caucuses, 4.2 million votes and 291 delegates,[109] although he would have likely won more had he not ended his campaign early.[110]

Romney decided not to seek donations to recover the $45 million in personal loans he made to his campaign. Instead, the loans are to be reclassified as contributions by Romney. The Romney committee raised approximately $65 million from individual donors during the primary campaign.[111][112]

Romney endorsed McCain for President at a press conference in Boston, Massachusetts on February 14, 2008, one week after suspending his campaign.[113] He became one of the McCain Campaign's most visible surrogates, appearing on behalf of the GOP nominee at fundraisers, state Republican party conventions and on cable news programs.[114] “There’s nobody who represents me better today than Mitt Romney," said John McCain of his former rival's efforts to promote his candidacy.[115] Romney also launched the Free and Strong America PAC to assist conservative "officeholders and candidates who are dedicated to promoting public policies that will strengthen America at this critical time in our history." The political organization, which takes its name from a key line in Romney's 2007 Faith in America speech, supported local, state and federal Republican candidates including Senator John McCain, Senator Elizabeth Dole, Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann and Congressman Pete Hoekstra.[116][117]

Romney was reported to be under consideration on the McCain ticket as a vice-presidential nominee.[118][119] Shortly after McCain opted for Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate, Romney told reporters he had no interest in serving in a McCain Cabinet because he would not relish being "soldiered by 27-year-olds in the White House.... That is not an attractive position, in my view."[120] Romney said his disinterest in a Cabinet position stemmed from his father's past experience as U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development for President Richard Nixon. Romney said he was not disappointed at being passed over for the vice presidential spot, and felt Palin would connect well with voters and strengthen the Republican ticket. He added, "I want to work from the outside of the administration, fighting for the values and the views that I think are essential to keep our country strong right now."[121]

Subsequent activities

Following the election, Romney paved the way for a possible 2012 presidential campaign by keeping much of his PAC's money to pay for salaries and consulting fees for his existing political staff.[122] He also had a network of former staff and supporters around the nation who were eager for him to run again.[123] In February 2009, Romney delivered a speech at the annual CPAC convention. There he won the 2012 presidential straw poll with 20%, leading many to think that he may emerge as the front runner in the 2012 race. In April 2009, Romney avoided questions about his political future by saying he was writing a book on "the challenges America faces".[124] He continued to give speeches, grant interviews, and raise campaign funds on behalf of fellow Republicans.[125] A June 2009 CNN/Opinion Research Corporation national poll showed Romney as the 2012 presidential co-favorite of the Republican electorate along with Palin and Mike Huckabee.[126] The same month, a Pew Research Center poll found that among the general public, 40 percent viewed him favorably and 28 percent unfavorably.[127] This was a marked improvement from the days of his 2008 presidential campaign, where his unfavorable ratings had been higher than his favorables.[127] Romney also stood to gain from the Republican electorate's tendency to nominate candidates who had previously run for president before.[123] Following the August 2009 death of his past rival Senator Edward M. Kennedy, Romney declared that he had no interest in running in the special election to replace him.[128]

Romney was an early supporter of Scott Brown, the successful Republican candidate in the 2010 Massachusetts Senate race. Much of Romney's campaign staff was used by Brown and Romney proved to be instrumental in many fundraising efforts to help Brown. Brown was introduced by Romney prior to his victory speech on the night of the election. During the speech, Romney was singled out by Brown and thanked for all of the support he had given to the victorious Senate candidate.

On February 15, 2010, Romney had an alleged altercation with LMFAO band member Skyler Gordy on an Air Canada flight from Los Angeles to Vancouver. The Associated Press released statements through it's media affiliates from Romney's spokesman, Eric Fehrnstrom, who stated "The passenger became physically violent. Governor Romney did not retaliate, but instead let the airline crew respond to the incident".[129] Fox News Channel reported that "A passenger became "physically violent" when the former Massachusetts governor asked him to move his seat upright for take-off."[130] Skyler Gordy claimed that, despite earlier press coverage[131] suggesting otherwise, that Romney was the first to initiate physical contact, putting a "vulcan grip" on him.[132] The claims were mentioned in a TMZ video which shows Sky Blu being escorted off the aircraft by Canadian police. Sky Blu was not arrested, however.[133][134]

Romney's book, No Apology: The Case for American Greatness, was released on March 2, 2010; an 18-state promotional book tour is planned.[135] Romney said he would work to elect Republican candidates in the 2010 elections, and would decide after that whether to stage a presidential campaign.[136] A January 2010 National Journal poll of political insiders found that a majority of Republican insiders, and a plurality of Democratic insiders, predicted Romney would become the party's 2012 nominee.[137]

Public image

Mitt Romney is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, colloquially known as the Mormon church.[138][139][140][141] Religion played a role in the 2008 presidential campaign, with some polls indicating that a quarter of Republican voters were “less likely” to vote for a presidential candidate who was a Latter-day Saint.[142][143] For privacy and religious reasons, Romney avoided speaking publicly about specific church doctrines, and pointed out that the U.S. Constitution prohibits religious tests for public office.[142]

Political positions

Romney invited Iowa voters to "Ask Mitt Anything" in May 2007.

As a candidate for the Republican nomination for President, Romney increasingly expressed views in line with traditional conservatives on social and foreign policy issues.[144][145] Romney asserts that he has learned from experience, and that supporters can rely on him to keep his campaign promises.[146]


Romney was photographed attending a Planned Parenthood fundraiser in 1994, and his wife made a $150 contribution to the organization.[147] In the past, Romney expressed support for the pro-choice position. Romney maintains that he has always followed his Church teachings and has been personally pro-life. Romney however acknowledges that his prior views were flawed, and now considers himself pro-life. Romney has consistently opposed Partial Birth Abortion and supports restrictions on abortion such as parental notification provisions.[148][149][150] Romney says that he believes that Roe v. Wade should be overturned, that "abortion is the wrong choice except in cases of incest, rape, and to save the life of the mother," and that "states, through the democratic process, should determine their own abortion laws and not have them dictated by judicial mandate."[150] As a candidate for office in Massachusetts, Romney held moderate to liberal views on abortion, and stated that the legislature should be the driving force behind policy decisions even though he personally opposed abortion. He explains his shift in views as a process of evolution, contending that he has gradually come to agree with the pro-life position. Romney opposes criminal penalties against women who undergo abortion and believes that society's "hearts and minds" must be changed for policy implementation to be successful.[151][152][153] Some critics of Romney portray him as an opportunist. For example, Democratic U.S. Representative Barney Frank of Massachusetts once said, "The real Romney is clearly an extraordinarily ambitious man with no perceivable political principle whatsoever" to which a Romney spokesman replied that "We’ve never really paid much attention to what Barney Frank is saying, and we see no reason to start now."[154]

Second Amendment Rights

Romney has been a strong supporter of both Second Amendment rights as well as certain pieces of gun control legislation. He has backed the Brady Bill, a five-day waiting period on gun sales, and a ban on certain assault weapons that he viewed as posing a threat to Police.[155] Romney has supported legislation that was endorsed by the National Rifle Association and the Gun Owners' Action League.[156] Romney also says he believes that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to keep and bear arms, rather than merely protecting a right of states.[157]

Illegal immigration

Romney welcomes more legal immigration and supports giving "a biometrically-enabled and tamperproof card to non-citizens and ... a national database for non-citizens" to reduce illegal immigration.[158] Romney's lawn care company allegedly had illegal aliens working at his private residence but Romney fired the company soon after the fact was revealed to him in 2007. Romney has stated that his dealings were with a company manager who is a legal resident of the United States.[159]

Romney at a parade in Milford, New Hampshire; September 3, 2007

He supports the deportation of illegal immigrant, prioritizes a secure border as well as employer verification, and opposes granting Amnesty to illegal Aliens. While Governor, he has opposed granting in-state tuition tuition and driver's licenses to illegal immigrants.[160]

Same-sex marriage

Romney opposes both marriage and civil unions between people of the same sex.[161] He is a proponent of monogamous, heterosexual marriage.[162] As a candidate for governor in 2002, Romney said: "Call me old fashioned, but I don't support gay marriage nor do I support civil union."[163] During that 2002 campaign, he also supported hate crimes legislation and opposed other discrimination against gays, while supporting some partner benefits for gays,[163] and he also opposed amending the state constitution to codify only traditional marriage because he believed the draft amendment would have outlawed other partner benefits.[164] When the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled in favor of legalized same-sex marriage in 2003, Romney lobbied for a state constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriage but allow civil unions.[163] He explained in 2005: "From day one I've opposed the move for same-sex marriage and its equivalent, civil unions.... I am only supporting civil unions if gay marriage is the alternative."[163] Romney has also called for the federal Constitution to be amended to limit marriage in the United States to unions of one man and one woman.[161]

Civil rights

Romney cites both Martin Luther King Jr. and his father George Romney as role models. The senior Romney made headlines by walking out on nominee Barry Goldwater because of his opposition to federal civil rights legislation, despite opposition from some in the party.[165] Governor Romney supports the Employment Nondiscrimination Act at state level.[citation needed] Romney supported Bill Clinton's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy in 1994, and continued to do so in 2007.[166][167] Romney has expressed support for decreasing barriers to entry into the workforce for women and minorities. He has expressed support for Muslims who face discrimination due to their religion.[168]

Foreign policy

Romney supported the invasion of Iraq[169] and the "troop surge". He however has criticized mismanagement of Iraq post invasion. He has stated that both diplomatic and military efforts should both be used to achieve success in the region.[170]"[171] Upon hearing the testimony of David Petraeus, Romney reemphasized his agreement with current policy in Iraq and has called for a "Surge of Support" for the military. Romney has expressed support for an eventual reduction in military presence in Iraq but has strongly opposed a timetable for withdrawal. Romney has called for increased military spending to at least 4 percent of the United States GDP and wishes to increase the size of the military by at least 100,000 troops.[172] Romney has expressed concern over the growing suppression of democracy in Russia. He has supported dialogue and efforts to establish cooperation with the Muslim world to fight the war on terror. Romney has proposed a non-confrontational peaceful effort to welcome democracy into the Middle East.[173]

Tax policy and economic issues

Romney has supported tax relief for "middle income Americans," and has advocated eliminating the capital gains tax for all those who earn less than $200,000 per year.[174] Romney has also supported eliminating the estate tax, known by opponents as the Death Tax,[175] signed a pledge to oppose "any and all efforts" to increase income taxes,[176] and promises to control spending by Congress. Romney has supported a balanced budget amendment to deal with the burgeoning federal deficit. He has stated that deficit spending results in devaluation of the dollar and a decline in the economic stability of the United States. He has proposed reining in growth in entitlement programs. He has also proposed eliminating pork-barrell spending on unnecessary programs.[177] Romney has supported efforts to expand trade with developing countries, and has pushed to renegotiate trade deals with China to help eliminate the Trade Deficit.[178]


Romney supports increased health insurance portability, coverage of pre-existing medical conditions, a cap on malpractice lawsuits, the implementation of a streamlined electronic medical records system, an emphasis on preventative care, loosening restrictions on importation of prescription drugs, and tax benefits aimed at making health insurance more affordable for the uninsured and targeted to promote universal access. Romney opposes a federal government run, single-payer system, but supports state efforts to reduce the uninsured population. [179] As Governor, Romney signed the Massachusetts health reform law into law. He opposes efforts to provide non-emergency health coverage for Illegal Immigrants, and supports the Hyde Amendment to ban government funding for elective abortion.[180]

Crime and punishment

Romney supports the death penalty and sentencing under the three strikes law.[181][182][183] Romney opposes the use of torture;[174] however, he supports the limited use of "enhanced interrogation techniques" to stop an imminent wide-scale terrorist attack.[184] Romney supports mandatory increases in sentencing for repeat drunk drivers and has supported a federal effort to curtail the drug trade in Columbia.[185]

Energy policy

Romney has supported a $20 billion package for energy research & new car technology. He opposes a unilateral US global warming policy and believes that worldwide solutions are optimal. He has supported the development of alternative energy such as nuclear, solar, wind, hydroelectric, and clean coal technology to break America's dependence on foreign oil. He has stated that large oil companies should reinvest profits in clean technology for oil refineries. He supports the popular measure of drilling in ANWR as short term measure to help the US achieve energy independence. As Governor, Romney supported clean environment initiatives.[186][187]


Romney supports increasing standards for education and quality based incentives for teachers. He proposes identifying failing schools, increasing school funding and accountability, greater choice, and English immersion. Romney has supported private and government efforts to increase merit scholarships for high school students. He has supported reforming under-performing schools with charter schools. Romney has supported means-tested vouchers for public and private schools as Governor. He has opposed efforts to teach creationism in schools, but believes that there should be more of an emphasis on family values in the educational system. Romney has supported efforts to fund nanotechnology and materials science education.[188]

Romney believes that a proper role for government in encouraging economic growth is ensuring that students receive the best education possible. After fostering a highly-educated workforce and lowering taxes, he asserts that the "best thing the country can do is unleash the power of entrepreneurs and get out of the way." [189]

Later personal life

Ann Romney was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1998. Since then, she has been an outspoken advocate for those with multiple sclerosis.[190] She is in remission and was active in his 2008 presidential campaign.[191]

In addition to their five sons, the Romneys have fourteen grandchildren.[192]

As of May 2009, the Romneys have two homes, one in New Hampshire and another in San Diego, California.[193]

Electoral history

See also


  1. ^ Some sources incorrectly report that Romney graduated BYU as valedictorian. Romney himself has corrected this notion, saying that he was not. While he believes he did have the highest grade point average for his BYU years in the College of Humanities, he did not if his Stanford year was factored in, and he did not among the graduating class university-wide. See Hewitt, A Mormon in the White House?, p. 45.


  1. ^
  2. ^
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  5. ^ Mahoney, Tom (1960). The Story of George Romney: Builder, Salesman, Crusader. New York: Harper & Brothers. pp. 104, 113. 
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  158. ^ Ending Illegal Immigration
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  161. ^ a b "Romney’s Tone on Gay Rights Is Seen as Shift". New York Times. 2007-09-08. 
  162. ^ Douglas Kmiec, Revising Kennedy, National Review, November 14, 2007. To quote Romney: "There is nothing more awful, in my view, than the violation of the marriage covenant that one has with one’s wife. The practice of polygamy is abhorrent, it’s awful, and it drives me nuts that people who are polygamists keep pretending to use the umbrella of my church....My church abhors it, it excommunicates people who practice it, and it's got nothing to do with my faith."
  163. ^ a b c d "Romney's stance on civil unions draws fire". Boston Globe. 2005-02-23. 
  164. ^ Rick Klein. “Group promises aid for amendment foes”, Boston Globe (2004-02-11): “Romney opposed that amendment as a gubernatorial candidate in 2002. At the time, Romney said he felt the amendment went too far because it would have outlawed domestic-partner benefits for gay couples, as well as gay marriage, and said he would vote against it.”
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  172. ^ Romney Urges More Be Spent On Defense And Energy Research
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External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Jane Swift
as Acting Governor
Governor of Massachusetts
January 2, 2003 – January 4, 2007
Succeeded by
Deval Patrick
Party political offices
Preceded by
Joseph D. Malone
Republican nominee for United States Senator from Massachusetts
(Class 1)

Succeeded by
Jack E. Robinson
Preceded by
Paul Cellucci
Massachusetts Republican Party gubernatorial candidate
Succeeded by
Kerry Healey


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

We have lost faith in government, not in just one party, not in just one house, but in government. It is time for innovation and transformation in Washington.

Willard Mitt Romney (born 1947-03-12) is an American businessman and the 70th Governor of Massachusetts. Romney was CEO of Bain & Company, a management consulting firm, and co-founder of Bain Capital, a private equity investment firm. Romney successfully organized and steered the 2002 Winter Olympics as President and CEO of the Salt Lake Organizing Committee.[1] Romney was a candidate for the Republican nomination in the 2008 United States presidential election. He is widely seen as a frontrunner for the Republican nomination for President in the 2012 Presidential Election.[2]


1994 United States Senate Campaign

  • 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 U.S. Senate candidate. I believe that since Roe v. Wade has been the law for 20 years we should sustain and support it.
    • United States Senatorial Debate, October 1994.[3]

2003-2007 Governor of Massachusetts

  • It would be impossible to reach unanimity on every aspect of our budget, but it’s clear there is widespread support for the concept of change. We face a choice between either cutting waste out of government, or facing a new job killing tax increase every year from here on out.
  • The definition of marriage is so fundamental to society that it should not be decided by one court in [Massachusetts] or by one mayor in San Francisco. In [America], the people should decide. In America, the people are fair and tolerant. Let the people decide.
  • Senator Kerry now tells us he has a clear position on the [war on terror]. He voted no on [Desert Storm] in 1991 and yes on [Desert Shield] today. Then he voted no on [troop funding], just after he'd voted yes. He's campaigned against the [war] all year, but says he'd vote yes today. This nation can't afford [presidential leadership] that comes in 57 varieties.
    • Republican Convention Speech, 2004.
  • I am in favor of stem cell research. I am not in favor of creating new human embryos through cloning.
    • Press conference, May 2005[6]
  • For all the conflicting views on this issue, it speaks well of our country that we recognize [abortion] as a problem. The [law] may call it a right, but no one ever called it a good, and, in the quiet of conscience people of both political parties know that more than a million abortions a year cannot be squared with the good heart of America.
    • Mitt Romney, "Why I vetoed the contraception bill", Boston Globe, July 26, 2005.
  • We cannot continue to have an excellence gap with the rest of the world and intend to remain the [economic superpower] and [military superpower] of the planet. That's just not going to happen. We're in a position where unless we take action, we'll end up being the [France] of the 21st century: a lot of talk, but not a lot of strength behind it in terms of economic capability.
  • I'm not happy exporting jobs but we must move ahead in technology and patents. I don't like losing any jobs but we'll see new opportunities created selling products there. We'll have a net net increase in economic activity, just as we did with free trade. It's tempting to want to protect our markets and stay closed. But at some point it all comes crashing down and you're hopelessly left behind. Then you are Russia.
    • "Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney's Message: Globalize or Die",, 2005-12-16[7]
  • The [president] is right to point to an international [jihadist] movement aimed at the collapse of the United States. He has gone after that threat in the right way and with great energy and vigor, and I applaud the fact that he has taken it on very seriously and has not considered it just a criminal action but instead a war action, which requires a military ... response.
    • Interview with James Taranto, December 2005.
  • I think we ought to have more oil. We ought to develop more sources of oil so that we can increase our supply. But the last thing I want to do is suck it all dry as quickly as we can. I want to use less of it.
    • Interview on Hardball with Chris Matthews, December 2005.
  • I wouldn't presume to present a plan different from that of the President. But I believe he was right to take on the war on terror on an aggressive front rather than a defensive front. We toppled the government ... walking away would mean a humanitarian disaster. We're there and we have a responsibility to finish the job.

2007 Republican Nomination for United States President Campaign

  • I frankly can't wait, because the idea of Bill Clinton back in the White House with nothing to do is something I just can't imagine, I can't imagine the American people can imagine....
    • In response to the question, "How would you run against Hillary and Bill Clinton in November?", MSNBC, Republican Presidential Candidate Debate, FL, 2007-01-25
  • We have lost faith in government, not in just one party, not in just one house, but in government. It is time for innovation and transformation in Washington. It is what our country needs. It is what our people deserve...I do not believe Washington can be transformed from within by a lifelong politician. There have been too many deals, too many favors, too many entanglements -- and too little real world experience managing, guiding, leading.
    • Romney formally kicks off presidential bid,, 2007-02-13[8]
  • America cannot continue to lead the family of nations around the world if we suffer the collapse of the family here at home.
    • Press Conference: Announcing Candidacy for Presidency, 2007-02-13[9]
  • I believe the family is the foundation of America -- and that we must fight to protect and strengthen it. I believe in the sanctity of human life. I believe that people and their elected representatives should make our laws, not unelected judges.
    • Press Conference: Announcing Candidacy for Presidency, 2007-02-13[10]
  • And I hear from time to time people say, hey, wait a second, we have civil liberties we have to worry about. But don't forget the most important civil liberty I expect from my government is my right to be kept alive, and that's what we're going to have to do.
    • Fox News, Republican Presidential Candidate Debate, Durham, NH, 2007-09-05
  • Actually, just look at what Osam - Barack Obama said just yesterday. Barack Obama calling on radicals, jihadists of all different types, to come together in Iraq.

Faith In America Speech

Delivered at the George Herbert Walker Bush Presidential Library, Texas (2007-12-06) - Full text at Wikisource
  • The fundamental principle of faith of Judeo Christian (belief) is there is a God, who is our heavenly Father and all the people on this earth and every speck of humanity on this earth is a creation of God ... And every creation of humanity is a child of God.
  • Freedom requires religion just as religion requires freedom. Freedom opens the windows of the soul so that man can discover his most profound beliefs and commune with God. Freedom and religion endure together, or perish alone.
  • My faith is the faith of my fathers - I will be true to them and to my beliefs. Some believe that such a confession of my faith will sink my candidacy. If they are right, so be it. But I think they underestimate the American people. Americans do not respect believers of convenience. Americans tire of those who would jettison their beliefs, even to gain the world.
  • These American values, this great moral heritage, is shared and lived in my religion as it is in yours. I was taught in my home to honor God and love my neighbor. I saw my father march with Martin Luther King.
    • Romney later admitted he didn't actually "see" them march together, but believes that they did march together.[12]
  • We separate church and state affairs in this country, and for good reason. No religion should dictate to the state nor should the state interfere with the free practice of religion. But in recent years, the notion of the separation of church and state has been taken by some well beyond its original meaning. They seek to remove from the public domain any acknowledgment of God. Religion is seen as merely a private affair with no place in public life. It is as if they are intent on establishing a new religion in America - the religion of secularism. They are wrong.


  • This election, this presidential election, I think has underscored underneath it several times. We want change. And it‘s not change in the White House so much, as change in Washington.
  • I am convinced that unless America changes course, we will become the France of the 21st Century - still a great nation, but no longer the leader of the world.


  • Like other presidents before him, Barack Obama inherited a recession. But unlike them, he has made it worse, not better.
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Simple English

Willard Mitt Romney (born March 12, 1947) is the former Governor of Massachusetts. He is a Mormon and part of the Republican Party. He ran for the President of the United States in 2008.[1] Romney stopped trying to become President on February 7, 2008.[2]

Romney was in charge of the Salt Lake Organizing Committee, which helped run the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah.[3] Romney took over the committee after a scandal where some people were being bribed.


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