WILLARD Mitt Romney's 2012 campaign theme.
"This is not an easy decision for me. I hate to lose . . . Because I love America, in this time of war, I feel I must now stand aside, for our party and for our country. . . . In this time of war, I simply cannot let my campaign be part of aiding a surrender to terror." -MITT ROMNEY, withdrawing from the presidential race
Source: The Boston Globe, Quotes of Note, 02-(February)/09/2008.
"And I saw my dad march with Martin Luther King. I did not see it with my own eyes, but I saw him in the sense of being aware of his participation in that great effort." - Mitt Romney, explaining how he meant his comments about seeing his father march with the civil rights leader figuratively.
Source: The Boston Globe, Quotes of Note, 12/22/2007.
“We’re going to hang the Obama Misery Index around his neck,” Romney said. “We’re going to hang him with that, so to speak.” He quickly added that he meant the statement metaphorically, saying, “you have to be careful these days.” The comment, which may be presented as an embarrassing gaffe, comes shortly after a controversial editorial in which Romney accused Obama of the “biggest peacetime spending binges in American history.” After criticism, he said that he meant since World War II.
Source: dailycaller.com - April 29, 2011
Former-Massachusetts Governor Willard Mitt Romney
My favorite Willard Mitt Romney quote, "A fee is not a tax."
GOP Values? Always serving their Corporate Elite Masters!
A Changed Man
Mitt Romney's Ideological Turnabout Has Critics Wondering: Who Is This Guy?
By David Segal
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, October 10, 2007; Page C01
Like every great sales pitch, Mitt Romney's case for Mitt Romney is low on the hard sell.
At the Sheraton Hotel here one recent morning, the boasting is handled by a former governor of South Carolina, who opens this "Ask Mitt Anything" session with a precis of the candidate's career. This includes academic achievements (Harvard Law School and Harvard Business School "in four years!") and election as governor of Massachusetts in 2002, which is described in a tone befitting a miracle.
"He ran for governor in the bluest state of all blue states," says James Edwards, "the bluest state you can think of, as a conservative Republican, and he won 51 percent of the vote in a four-way race without a runoff!"
Romney deflects the praise with a regionally tailored quip. "It's like that song, maybe you've heard it," he says, about to quote country star Toby Keith. " 'I ain't as good as I once was, but I'm as good once as I ever was.' " He's an unlikely honky-tonker, this 60-year-old who's spent his adult life in the suburbs of Boston and looks like the mayor of whatever town the Cleavers lived in. During his pre-Q&A remarks, Romney speaks with an assortment of golly-geeisms straight out of the '50s, with lots of sunny talk about values, the importance of a big military, the virtues of small government. He repeats the word "strong" so often you'd think he's earning royalties from it.
"People in this country, they warm to the message that I've described -- of a strong America, a strong military, strong economic vitality and strong families," [WILLARD Mitt Romney] says.
As a performance, it's smooth, folksy and winningly sincere. But it doesn't sound much like the man who won that vote in Massachusetts. That Romney positioned himself, and for a while governed as, a moderate: in favor of abortion rights, courting gay voters and crusading on environmental matters in a way that had the state's green activists pinching themselves with joy.
[WILLARD Mitt Romney] now says his pro-choice leanings were a mistake. He has become one of the country's highest-profile opponents of gay marriage, and he warns against taking Al Gore's side regarding action on global warming.
Many candidates change. Romney seems to have given himself a makeover. Which has prompted more than a few people to ask: Who is this guy?
The search for an Overarching Theory of Mitt has been a preoccupation in Massachusetts, where his journey rightward played out in a highly public way. His fans say he simply evolved; his detractors call him a flip-flopper. But talk to those who've watched him longest, and some who were personally wooed during his run for governor, and you'll hear something else. [WILLARD Mitt Romney] is a born salesman, they say, and he has taken the modus operandi of selling to a whole different level in the world of politics.
"To Mitt Romney, politics is just another product," says Jeffrey Berry, a professor of politics at Tufts University and longtime Romney watcher. "Products can be recast, reshaped and remarketed in endless ways. Now, that might sound cynical, but Mitt isn't a charlatan. He's simply had so much success in the business world that his approach in that realm seems like the natural way of doing things."
Venturing Into Capital
All politicians must sell, of course, but none is steeped in the art of the sale quite like Romney. It's a talent he inherited from his father, a three-term governor of Michigan who once ran American Motors Corp. and logged thousands of miles to push its compact cars. A Time magazine cover story in 1959 recounted his visits to women's clubs, where his patter included the line, "Ladies! Why do you drive such big cars?"
After the younger Romney collected those Harvard degrees, he spent more than a dozen years as a venture capitalist, a job that requires you to pitch to companies (so they will let you acquire them) and to banks (so they will issue loans) and to investors (so they will invest).
As CEO of Bain Capital, a Boston-based firm that he founded in 1984, Romney bought all or parts of companies selling mattresses (Sealy), sneakers (Sports Authority), vibrating massage chairs (Brookstone), pizza (Domino's) and corporations in fields such as telecommunications, broadcasting, food service and on and on. Bain started with $37 million under management; by the time he left in 1999, that figure was more than $4 billion.
The job that followed, running the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, was a sell-a-thon, too. "Turnaround," his book about that experience, is unique among candidate bios in its attempt to wring drama from a cross-country rush to lock down sponsorship deals. This includes an eleventh-hour, face-to-face pitch to Gateway, from whom Romney hoped to get 5,000 computers.
"We have to know right away," Romney quotes himself saying to then-Gateway CEO Jeff Weitzen. "We have to start buying computers, or get them from you."
Romney clinched that deal. His only rough patch in the realm of persuasion came in his late teens, in France, where he served as a Mormon missionary, and went door to door evangelizing for his church. He tried everything to win converts -- singing, playing basketball, even giving lectures on archaeology, according to a letter he sent to his parents at the time, published recently by the Boston Globe. Nothing worked.
But he didn't hear a lot of "non merci" after that. Eventually he built a personal fortune pegged in the neighborhood of $350 million in the private sector. His latest pitch, for the Oval Office, is going poorly or pretty well, depending on whether you're talking about the whole country or key primary states. Nationally, Romney shows up in fourth place in polls, and he has lost the huge lead he once held in New Hampshire, where he's currently tied for first with former New York mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani. He's leading, however, in Iowa. During a recent swing through South Carolina, he drew decent crowds and plenty of voters who were impressed with his background.
"He got elected in Massachusetts, which I consider a breakaway state of the Soviet Union," said Carl Langley, a retired newspaper columnist, after an "Ask Mitt Anything" event in Aiken, S.C.
What earned him that job in Massachusetts, though, is an idea that he doesn't mention much any longer. Back in 2002, he emphasized one promise, time and again: He would be the state's No. 1 salesman.
"There's virtually not a chief executive officer in the country that won't let me in to sit down with them in their office to pitch Massachusetts," Romney said at a typical campaign appearance in 2002, before the Massachusetts Software & Internet Council. "And that is what I'll do, inside Massachusetts, outside Massachusetts, outside of our country, to encourage businesses to come grow and thrive in the most robust portion of the economy, Massachusetts."
'Hearts Were Broken'
At that time, Romney deflected many of the social-conservative issues that he now embraces, and he charmed a handful of left-leaning interest groups who might otherwise have been enemies. A few of them say they wound up with the political version of buyer's remorse.
Including NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts. In September 2002, at a face-to-face meeting at Romney's headquarters in Cambridge, Romney assured a delegation from the group that, no, he would not impinge on abortion rights. And yes, he would like to see easier access to emergency contraceptives, such as Plan B. He closed the meeting by taking on a just-between-us tone and saying, essentially, You need Republicans like me. And the party needs candidates like me, because this issue is killing the party, according to Melissa Kogut, who was then executive director of the organization. He didn't expect an endorsement, he told her, but he hoped the organization would refrain from attacking him during the campaign.
Which the group did, stressing instead its support for Democrat Shannon O'Brien. Kogut said at a news conference before the election that it would be "dangerous" not to elect a leader on this issue, but that's a long way from the war she and her colleagues would have declared against an antiabortion candidate.
Romney also awed the state's Log Cabin chapter, meeting with the gay Republican group in October 2002 and wowing attendees with opinions on domestic-partnership benefits in the workplace (he was for them) and discrimination based on sexual orientation (strongly against).
He spoke against gay marriage, one attendee recalls, but it sounded as if he could countenance civil unions when he said, "Just don't use the M-word." He emphasized themes of tolerance and respect, and by the end of the meeting Log Cabin members were pretty dazzled. After Romney left, the group unanimously voted to endorse him.
Environmentalists, meantime, were amazed to discover that this uber-capitalist seemed pretty much a Greenpeace fantasy. Once elected, he brought environmental activists into the fold, among them Douglas Foy, the formidable president of the Conservation Law Foundation, who was given a newly created Cabinet-level job. And not long after he was sworn in, Romney went to the oil- and coal-fired Salem Harbor Station power plant and threatened to shut it down if its owners didn't meet a deadline to slash nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide emissions.
"If the choice is between dirty power plants or protecting the health of the people of Massachusetts, there is no choice in my mind," he said at an impromptu news conference, in February 2003, while hard-hat-wearing workers at the plant jeered.
But two years into his term, Moderate Romney started to vanish. NARAL's detente lasted until July 2005, when the governor vetoed a bill that would have allowed pharmacists to provide emergency contraceptives to women without a prescription -- a total 180 from his avowal during the NARAL meeting. Kogut, the group's former executive director, phoned the governor's office but, she says, he never called back.
"We felt completely played," she recalls. "We just couldn't believe it, given what he'd said to our faces."
The comity with gay voters was even briefer. In 2003, the state Supreme Judicial Court voted to legalize gay marriage, forcing Romney to take a stand on an issue that he had not discussed much during his campaign. At first he tried to find a middle ground, stressing both his opposition to the ruling and his hope that the legislature would pass laws providing some rights for same-sex couples, including civil unions. "The governor is not a crusader," said spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom after the ruling. "He did not come to office to crusade for or against gay rights."
But by 2004, Romney was one of the country's most vocal critics of gay marriage, and in 2005 he backed a state constitutional amendment that would ban not just gay marriage but civil unions, too. (The governor said at the time that he had supported civil unions in the past because gay marriage seemed like the only alternative; in his ideal world, he told the media, there would be no civil unions either.) The following year, he took his gay-marriage opposition on the road, pushing for a similar constitutional amendment in South Carolina, pledging $5,000 through his political action committee and promising to show up and campaign on the amendment's behalf.
By then, some Log Cabin Republicans were saying they'd been snookered.
"He shakes your hand, looks you in the eye," says Richard Babson, a Log Cabin member who attended the Romney meeting. "It's hard for me to know what Mitt Romney's first principles are on a given day."
Last week, the Log Cabin Republicans went public with their anger, running a TV ad that lambastes Romney by including video clips of his pro-choice, pro-gun-control stands as a candidate in Massachusetts.
If the gay-rights crowd sounds bitterly disappointed, the state's environmentalists sound like they'd gotten punk'd. By the end of his term, Romney had announced his support for oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. He'd supported an easing of regulations on power-plant cleanup, including Salem Harbor, the site of that confrontation. And he'd pulled out of a historic seven-state agreement designed to reduce greenhouse gases, an effort he'd initially championed.
"Hearts were broken," says Seth Kaplan of the Conservation Law Foundation. "That's the best way I can put it. And when someone is an unexpected advocate, like Romney was, it builds up your hopes and breaks your heart even more."
Most trace the turning point to the elections of 2004, when Romney backed a slate of Republican candidates, hoping to loosen the Democratic hold on the state legislature. When the GOP gained not a single seat, he seemed to abandon interest in a second term and set his sights on a run for the presidency.
That's not to say he gave up on the governor's job; in 2006, for example, he signed into law an ambitious health insurance bill that mandated coverage for all Massachusetts residents by July of this year. But he began traveling regularly outside the state for campaign-like, get-to-know-me appearances, more than 100 trips in 2005 and 2006, the Boston Globe reported. He stopped selling Massachusetts and started to make it the butt of jokes, telling out-of-state audiences that his job made him feel like "a cattle rancher at a vegetarian convention."
Even some members of the business community were let down.
"Everyone knew that rebuilding the economy here would be 40 miles of hard road, and Mitt bailed out after five miles," says Howard Anderson, a professor of business at MIT and a longtime investor in Bain Capital who has known Romney for years. "At some point, we in the venture capital community became skeptics, and that eventually turned into rampant cynicism."
Anderson has nothing but praise for Romney's performance as Bain CEO, describing him as a smart, consensus-building leader with terrific judgment, a man of integrity who was exceptionally generous to partners. Squaring Romney the executive with Romney the politician is something Anderson has never been able to do.
"It's as though he's let the market dictate his ideology, which is something no one who knew him in the private sector ever saw coming. Not a hint."
The Real Romney?
Romney's supporters acknowledge that he moved to the right during his years as governor, but they think the distance he traveled is no further than that of other great politicians. (Reagan, once a Democrat, is mentioned often.) They stress his competence, intelligence and leadership skills as well as his talent as a fiscal manager. His campaign says that when he took office, Massachusetts faced a deficit of $3 billion and when he left, it had a surplus.
"The people of Massachusetts will remember Mitt Romney as a person who came into office during a financial emergency, balanced the budget without raising taxes and found a way to get health insurance to all our citizens without a government takeover," writes Fehrnstrom, still Romney's spokesman, in an e-mail.
Whether Romney's rapid journey rightward will matter in the election isn't clear. In the town of Aiken (town motto: "Character counts"), what you hear is a lot of skepticism about Mormonism, still Romney's most problematic sale. And many who say that a person who came late to the anti-abortion camp can't be trusted to stay there.
"If he changed his mind once, he could change it again," says Gene Hawkins, a private investigator, who was visiting a gun store during his lunch break. "If he's indecisive about that, what else might he be indecisive about?"
Among those who came to Romney's event, few seemed bothered by the idea that he'd run for his only other job in public office as a very different candidate. In a state so dominated by Democrats, how else was he supposed to win? And perhaps his willingness to rethink his stands, these people said, is evidence of a comforting kind of honesty.
"It takes a real man to admit he's wrong, but he's changed his mind and he tells you why," says Skipper Perry, Aiken's local representative to the state legislature. "I don't look at it as flip-flopping so much as soul-searching."
What liberal activists from the home state remember, however, is a governor who presented a thoroughly convincing persona in 2002 and effectively abandoned it two years later. Which is the real Romney, they ask?
Some think he was feigning his moderation then and is revealing his true self now. But it's a safe bet that Romney would have passed a lie detector test in both incarnations. And that speaks to his consummate skills as a salesman, the best of whom believe so deeply in their product that they internalize its merits -- which is why they never sound like they're selling.
Would Ronnie raise his glass to Romney's Republican changing messages?
The New Hampshire Union Leader
Vol. 144, No. 185 – November 1, 2007
LETTERS – Page B3
My plan won’t tax savings
To the Editors:
I always enjoy being able to come up to the Granite State to meet with voters. I recently spent 3 days traveling more than 500 miles and doing 11 events in New Hampshire.
At many stops around the state, people talk to me about their taxes and ask if I’ve got a plan that will let families keep more of their hard-earned money.
First off, WE NEED TO MAKE THE BUSH TAX CUTS PERMANENT. Second, we need to kill the death tax, once and for all. And third, I do NOT think that the federal government should tax middle class people on their savings.
So, while I was in New Hampshire I rolled out a plan for a new tax rate on savings – 0 percent – that is zero percent for those with an adjusted gross income under $200,000. That includes interest on a savings account, stock dividends, or on capital gains. I want more people to be able to save more of their money and not be penalized for it. The plan will allow over 95 percent of American families to save and invest tax-free.
For more information visit my Web site at www.MittRomney.com. If you want to get involved in my campaign, contact my New Hampshire office at 603-836-0141.
WILLARD Mitt Romney was inspired by NH Voters to cut taxes on savings, especially those who choose to save their money who belong to that ever elusive group: Middle Class Families.
Does WILLARD Mitt Romney's tax-cut plan include pension reform protections? Answer: NO!
Does WILLARD Mitt Romney's tax-cut plan include strengthening labor laws? Answer: NO!
Does WILLARD Mitt Romney's tax-cut plan include strengthening public education? Answer: NO!
Does WILLARD Mitt Romney's tax-cut plan include strengthening scholorship and student loan subsidies? Answer: NO!
A LESSON IN FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT by Jonathan Melle
The average American is either a poor person who is a single head of household or a middle class family with two adult sources of income. A poor person who is a single head of household usually spends more money that he or she earns or receives. A poor person has a "negative income." A middle class family with two adult sources of income either cuts even on their expenses or is able to save a paltry amount of money that averages less than a mere $100,000 over a very frugal lifetime.
If a "have-not" middle class family is able to save their money, they usually yield a return on their paltry savings of 3%-per-year over the long-term. It takes this family a generation or 24-years to double their initial or early savings. WELL, INFLATION (long-term) AVERAGES 5% a year! The real, adjusted yield return on the average middle class family's savings is -2%. So, the savvy "have-not" middle class family may save their money more wisely than their less savvy "have-not" brethen and yield a return on their paltry savings of 6%-per-year over the long-term. As INFLATION is still 5%, the "have-not" two income middle class savings nets them a real, adjusted return of 1%.
Why is that net 1% yield important? As WILLARD Mitt Romney indirectly points out, when the federal government taxes that net 1% middle class savings, they are taking away the INCENTIVE to SAVE. By eliminating federal taxes on savings, all WILLARD Mitt Romney is really doing is allowing savvy "have-not" middle class savers, in this case investors, to keep their net yield return of 1%.
The BOTTOM LINE here: BIG DEAL! The Middle Class family will still not get ahead. Here is why. When two people form a middle class family, they usually have children. The savings of the middle class family diminish as the cost of living expenses gets passed down to their children when they grow up to adulthood.
Here is what happens:
Collectively, the "Have-Nots" income increases at a rate of 3% per year. Formula: 72/3=24. It takes 24-years for the "Have-Nots" to double their income.
What happens in a span of 24-years? The answer is a new generation. The middle class family's child grows into adulthood, settles down with a partner, has children, and the cycle starts all over again.
Collectively, the wealthy's income increases at a rate of 9 to 12% per year. Money yields more money. So, every 6 to 8 years, the Corporate Elite double their wealth.
When you bear this out over several forthcoming generations, or say 100-years, the math demonstrates that it will be impossible to retain a viable middle class society.
This is all done on purpose or by the design of the Corporate Elite and U.S. Government. The very people who control America are destroying its middle class! To be clear, GLOBALISATION, while inevitable, spells the ruin of the American Middle Class Family!
Jonathan Alan Melle
Romney's shift on issues sincere, key conservative says
By Michael Levenson, Globe Staff | November 7, 2007
Paul M. Weyrich, an elder statesman of the religious right, said yesterday that he believes Mitt Romney has made a sincere conversion from a supporter of abortion rights and gay rights into an opponent of both.
"I believe that he has flip-flopped in our direction, if you will - the direction of the values voters - and I think he will stay there," Weyrich said in a telephone interview, the first since he endorsed Romney. "I think he has a good deal of presence and ability to explain things, and so I think he's the candidate this year."
Paul M. Weyrich, a founder of The Heritage Foundation and the Moral Majority, on Monday became the latest in a string of conservative activists to endorse Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, in the Republican presidential primary. Yesterday, Weyrich said he had also considered endorsing Mike Huckabee or Fred Thompson but wanted, above all, to stop Rudy Giuliani, a supporter of abortion rights who is leading in several national polls.
"In analyzing the primary situation, I believe it's going to come down to a contest between Giuliani and Romney and I don't want Giuliani," Weyrich said from his home in Virginia. "I feel that it would be a mistake for the Republicans to nominate him - so I decided that Romney would be the better of the two."
Romney telephoned Weyrich several times this year as part of his campaign to woo conservatives who are concerned that during his 1994 run for the US Senate, he supported abortion rights and pledged to be a better advocate for gay rights than the Democratic incumbent, Edward M. Kennedy. Romney now repudiates both stances.
"I can only take a man at his word, and I questioned him on that, as did others, and I was satisfied that his conversion was a sincere one," Weyrich said. "I think he's going to not only stay in those positions, but also is going to fight for them. I could be wrong, but I don't think so."
Romney has also been trying to allay concerns among some Christian conservatives who consider his Mormon faith heretical.
"I've been pointing out to people we're not electing him to be head of the theology department of a Baptist university; we're electing him in a secular context," Weyrich said. "Were it in a religious context, I would be very much opposed to him, because I don't agree with his religion, but it's not relevant in my opinion. He has a church that very much believes in family values and I think will be helpful to him in getting his thinking straight."
Birth-control activist warns of new peril
By Jennifer Huberdeau, North Adams Transcript
Friday, November 9, 2007
Bill Baird spoke to MCLA students Thursday on the dangers of taking birth control for granted. Photo by Gillian Jones/North Adams Transcript
NORTH ADAMS — Forty years after his infamous arrest at Boston Univer- sity for giving a 19-year-old woman contraceptive foam, William Baird continues to fight for birth control — only now he's fighting to educate the masses of young adults who take the availability of contraceptives and access to legal abortions for granted.
"You dear young people have no idea what trouble you're in," Baird, 75, told a philosophy class at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts Thursday morning. "Supreme Court Judge (Antonin) Scalia has said there are no constitutional rights in Roe v. Wade. When the Supreme Court upheld a ban on late-term abortion, they violated the rights of women, 5 to 4."
Baird, who has been arrested eight times and served three months in the Charles Street Jail in Boston for his gift of contraceptive foam to a teen in 1967, has been a pro-choice advocate for over 40 years. He led a crusade to allow unmarried people the same rights and access to birth control that married couples had won several years earlier.
In 1972, the Supreme Court heard Baird v. Eisenstadt, a case in which he asserted that the right to privacy granted to married couples had to be extended to unmarried couples. He won, striking down a 92-year-old Massachusetts law that had prohibited the printing, publishing or exhibiting of contraceptives by any means. His case would later be cited six times during the Roe v. Wade decision handed down by the Supreme Court.
"In 1963, I was the clinical director of EMKO, a spermicidal foam pharmaceutical company," Baird said. "I was in a New York hospital coordinating research when I head a scream. I went out in the hallway, and a woman, covered in blood from the waist down, fell into my arms. She had an 8-inch coat hanger hanging out of her uterus. She died in front of me. I think anyone who loses their life like that has a right to choose."
He said the lack of available birth control and education, especially in poor areas, had been leading young women to carry out abortions on their own.
Holding up a wooden board filled with items such as a turkey baster, soap and coat hangers, Baird talked about how poor young women — many the mothers of multiple children — killed themselves trying to have abortions.
"Do you understand that poor people will use saran wrap as a contraceptive, Pepsi as a douche and stand up after sex to make the sperm go away?," he asked the students.
Flipping over the board, which he has used for 40 years, he showed a variety of contraceptive devices to the students and prodded them with questions.
"I'm trying to show you that, as educated individuals, you are not so sure about what these things are," Baird said. "Do you know how many kids I've talked to that have borrowed their mothers' diaphragm, not knowing that they have to be fitted? See this board? This is history. When this board was showed in a Boston courtroom, the police actually said that if you looked at it, you would get sexual ideas."
He warned the students that today's government is slowly stripping away their rights — banning partial birth abortions and promoting abstinence-only education programs in schools.
"We say abstinence only, but that also means that there is no information about birth control handed out," Baird said. "I have been called the devil, a menace to the nation — a sexual pied piper — and accused of corrupting youth. I'm a decent man. This is class warfare. The poor are being hung out. If I had lost my case in the Supreme Court, how many of you and your friends would be affected?"
He pointed out that only in cases of birth control, gay rights and abortion are religious convictions allowed to come into play. He said Jehovah's Witnesses do not believe in blood transfusions, but no one tries to outlaw blood transfusions based on God's wishes.
"Men are incredibly brave when it comes to women's bodies," Baird said. "I never had a woman come into my office to be counseled for an abortion who said, 'Wait. I want to have my neighbor's opinion.' We would never be able to force vasectomies on men, but people believe they can force a woman to go through with a pregnancy she doesn't want."
He said he is concerned that today's youth takes the right to access birth control for granted.
"Along comes President Bush, who is stacking the Supreme Court with strictly conservative judges," Baird said. "I'm here because I want you to know of one man's sacrifices. My fight is for the individual. Freedom isn't free. The next time you have sex using birth control, I want you to think about why you're able to have it."
Baird first visited the campus in 1970, when he spoke to a packed auditorium in Venable Hall. The class Thursday was attended by six students.
Analysis: How do foes stop Romney money? By LIZ SIDOTI, Associated Press Writer,
Tuesday, November 6, 2007, 6:41 PM ET.
Riddle me this: How do you stop an ultra-wealthy presidential candidate who leads in early voting states, already has dumped $17.5 million of his own money into his bid and could spend boatloads more to rack up wins in a squeezed primary schedule?
Mitt Romney's rivals can only hope they figure that out — and fast.
One answer might seem easy: use your own millions to broadcast the nastiest flip-flop ads you can against him in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina — and hope his poll numbers in those early states tumble. He already trails his top rivals in national surveys.
The reality, however, isn't clear-cut.
Rudy Giuliani, Fred Thompson, John McCain and Mike Huckabee are struggling to determine the best approach for taking down Romney and elevating themselves two months before voting begins.
"Everyone who isn't Mitt Romney is sitting around looking at their cash on hand, looking at their opposition research and trying to figure out what the silver bullet is, when do I shoot it and how do I make sure it kills," Phil Musser, a Republican strategist backing the former Massachusetts governor.
There's plenty of fodder — Romney has reversed positions on abortion while shifting to the right on a string of issues.
Still, his rivals face two major dilemmas as they plot strategy:
The compressed calendar — with more than two dozen states voting before Feb. 6 — stresses every candidate's bank account. Giuliani and Thompson, unlike Romney, don't have a seemingly endless supply of personal cash. Both have raised millions of dollars, but Giuliani had only $12 million on hand for the primaries at the end of September and Thompson had $7 million. Cash-strapped McCain and Huckabee had much less, while Romney had $9 million in his bank account and had indicated he was willing to invest more of his own fortune.
Going negative can backfire, particularly in a multi-candidate field. Just four years ago, Howard Dean and Dick Gephardt were front-runners to win the Democratic nomination. Looking to seal the deal, each ran blistering ads just before Iowa voted. The result was mutually assured destruction: Both ended up losing voters and the nomination. John Kerry and John Edwards got the coveted tickets out of the leadoff caucus state. The lesson: Those who run negative ads risk driving up their own negative perceptions in voters' minds.
"Each leading candidate has their own strength — Romney has wealth, Giuliani is America's 9/11 hero and Thompson has Southern conservatism," said Greg Strimple, a New York-based Republican strategist unaligned with any of the campaigns. "That said, the most strategically difficult question to answer right now in the Republican primary is how do you offset the advantages of Romney's economic wealth in a front-weighted primary."
Many elections have proven that money doesn't guarantee a win. Steve Forbes, who contributed about $38 million to his campaigns in 1996 and 2000, and Ross Perot, who pumped in $63 million in 1992, both lost.
Unlike them, Romney has a political background. And he has proven he can raise money from donors — $45 million as of Sept. 30 — as well as open his wallet. Many GOP strategists see the businessman-turned-politician as one of two Republicans — Giuliani being the other — with the most plausible paths to the nomination.
Romney leads by double-digits in Iowa; his edge is tighter in New Hampshire. His nomination is hardly assured.
Giuliani leads in national polls. He is giving Romney a chase in Iowa and New Hampshire while having the advantage in some other states. Thompson, McCain, Huckabee and a few long-shots also are factors.
Because of Romney's deep pockets, several Republicans argue that he has a better shot to rebound from an early state defeat or to counter an advertising shellacking than his poorer opponents. They could be at the mercy of what GOP strategist Terry Nelson calls "market dynamics" — losing early and watching cash dry up.
"Romney could invest some amount of money more, nobody knows how much, and that means he then has an ability to survive attacks and live to fight another day if he chooses to do that," said Nelson, a veteran of President Bush's 2004 re-election campaign who managed McCain's bid until July.
Added Evan Tracey, president of the political ad-tracking firm TNS Media Intelligence/Campaign Media Analysis Group: "The problem is when you face a guy like Romney, who is both raising and donating, you can't calculate what he will or won't do. You can only calculate what you can and can't do."
So, while Romney executes his momentum-based strategy — win Iowa and use that victory to roll up others in New Hampshire, Michigan, South Carolina and beyond — his opponents are mapping out their own plans.
_Giuliani, the ex-mayor of New York, is competing in Iowa and New Hampshire but his math-based strategy continues to be geared more toward delegate-rich, expensive states that vote later like Florida and California.
_Thompson, the "Law & Order" actor and former Tennessee senator, is hoping for a strong showing in Iowa but is focused more on the Southern states of South Carolina and Florida.
_McCain, the Arizona senator who triumphed in New Hampshire in 2000, is looking to that state as he seeks a comeback, as well as South Carolina.
_Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor, is zeroing in on Iowa, where he's recently gained ground.
EDITOR'S NOTE — Liz Sidoti covers presidential politics for The Associated Press.
N.H. probes anti-Romney 'poll' calls By PHILIP ELLIOTT, Associated Press Writer, Friday, November 16, 2007, 3:50 P.M., Yahoo! News, AP
New Hampshire's attorney general is investigating phone calls to voters that pretend to be opinion polls but then undercut presidential contender Mitt Romney and his Mormon faith — and make favorable statements about Republican rival John McCain.
McCain says they're not his doing and he wants them stopped. Romney says it's a religious attack and "un-American."
McCain said of the phone calling, "It is disgraceful, it is outrageous, and it is a violation, we believe, of New Hampshire law." His campaign asked the attorney general to investigate, and McCain, campaigning Friday in Colorado, asked other candidates to join in the request.
One McCain adviser, Chuck Douglas, said "we believe it is being done by one of the other campaigns. We don't know which one."
Western Wats, a Utah-based company, placed the calls that initially sound like a poll but then pose questions that cast Romney in a harsh light, according to people who received the calls. In politics, this type of phone surveying is called "push polling" — contacting potential voters and asking questions intended to plant a message, usually negative, rather than gauging attitudes.
A spokesman for the company would not comment on whether it made the calls. However, its client services director, Robert Maccabee, said, "Western Wats has never, currently does not, nor will it ever engage in push polling."
The 20-minute calls started on Sunday in New Hampshire and Iowa. At least seven people in the two early voting states received the calls, some as recently as Thursday.
Deputy Attorney General Bud Fitch said New Hampshire has never prosecuted a case involving such calls but was moving forward. He cautioned against expecting an immediate resolution.
"Generally, these investigations can take at least several days and sometimes several weeks," Fitch said.
Among the questions the caller asked was whether the person receiving the call knew Romney was a Mormon, that he received military deferments when he served as a Mormon missionary in France, that his five sons did not serve in the military, that Romney's faith did not accept blacks as bishops into the 1970s and that Mormons believe the Book of Mormon is superior to the Bible.
"It started out like all the other calls. ... Then all of the sudden it got very unsettling and very negative," said Anne Baker, an independent voter who was called in Hollis, N.H.
In Iowa, Romney supporter and state representative Ralph Watts got a call on Wednesday.
"I was offended by the line of questioning," Watts said. "I don't think it has any place in politics."
Romney, campaigning in Las Vegas, said Friday, "The attempts to attack me on the basis of my faith are un-American."
The former Massachusetts governor's Mormon faith has been an issue in his presidential bid, especially with conservative evangelicals who are central to his strategy to cast himself as the candidate for the GOP's family values voters.
Baker, who got a call in New Hampshire, said the caller initially wouldn't tell her who was behind it. Eventually, Baker was told the caller was from Western Wats.
Last year, Western Wats conducted polling that was intended to spread negative messages about Democratic candidates in a House race in New York and a Senate race in Florida, according to reports in The Tampa Tribune and the Albany Times Union, which also said Western Wats conducted the calls on behalf of the Tarrance Group.
That Virginia-based firm now works for Romney's rival, Rudy Giuliani. The campaign has paid the firm more than $400,000, according to federal campaign reports.
In his statement on behalf of Western Wats, Maccabee said the company was not currently conducting "any work for ... The Tarrance Group in the state of New Hampshire or Iowa, nor have we for the period in question."
Maccabee added that confidentiality agreements prohibit the company from commenting on specific projects or clients.
Ed Goeas, chief of the Tarrance Group, said there is no connection between the Giuliani campaign and Western Wats.
"I know absolutely it's not us," Goeas said. "I can say with absolute, no, it's not us."
Giuliani spokeswoman Katie Levinson said, "Our campaign does not support or engage in these types of tactics and it is our hope other campaigns will adhere to the same policy."
Western Wats also worked for Bob Dole's presidential campaign in 1996. Employees said they used such calls at that time to describe GOP rival Steve Forbes as pro-abortion rights.
New Hampshire law requires that all political advertising, including phone calls, identify the candidate being supported. No candidate was identified in the calls.
Whoever is behind the calls, Romney said part of the blame must go to the 2002 McCain-Feingold law that limits campaign contributions. The phone campaign, he said, "points out how ineffective it has been in removing the influence of money and underhanded politics." He added, "I have seen over the last several weeks more and more reports of e-mails, of literature being passed out and now push polls which attack me on the basis of religion, and I think that's very disappointing and un-American."
McCain communications director Jill Hazelbaker took issue with the link to the McCain-Feingold law.
"It is appalling, but not surprising, that Mitt Romney would seek to take advantage of this disturbing incident to launch yet another hypocritical attack," she said.
Associated Press Writers George Merritt in Colorado and Ken Ritter in Las Vegas contributed to this story.
(Boston) GLOBE EDITORIAL
Why was this killer freed?
November 28, 2007
A JUDGE'S decision to release Daniel Tavares from the Massachusetts prison system shouldn't be fodder for cheap shots among Republican presidential candidates, but it does point to systemic problems in a fragmented criminal justice system. Governor Patrick, the Legislature, and the judiciary need to figure out how the system can be improved to better protect the public from recidivist killers.
Patrick has taken a first step toward transparency by ordering an investigation into why the Department of Correction delayed filing charges against Tavares for allegedly assaulting officers while he was in state prison. The department didn't act until Tavares was about to be released, after serving 16 years for killing his mother.
The delay hindered efforts by the Worcester district attorney to keep Tavares in prison, pending the posting of a $50,000 bond. A transcript of the bail hearing this July shows that Barry Dynice, Tavares's lawyer, made a strong case that his client was not a flight threat. And Dynice cast doubt on the allegations that Tavares had attacked guards.
Assistant District Attorney William Loughlin didn't immediately second Dynice's suggestion that Tavares wear a monitor, rebut Dynice on the veracity of the assault allegations, or follow up on Dynice's statement that Tavares had a fiancée in Washington state.
By the time the prosecutor got around to asking for a bracelet, Judge Kathe Tuttman was ready to rule that Tavares be freed without bail and without electronic monitoring on the condition that he check in with a probation officer three times a week.
Tavares made a couple of those calls, then headed for Washington. He is now behind bars there, accused of killing Brian and Beverly Mauck.
As governor, Mitt Romney named Tuttman to the bench in 2006. Now, facing withering criticism from presidential rival Rudy Giuliani, Romney has called on her to resign. But after 17 years as a prosecutor in Essex County, Tuttman was well qualified to be a judge. Romney shouldn't so readily jettison appointees when they become a liability.
In July, Tuttman was still learning how to master her job on the other side of the bench, and was badly served by the Department of Correction and the district attorney's office. Patrick's investigation, only covering the Correction Department, will be incomplete, and he has no power over the district attorney or the judiciary. The ultimate authority is the Legislature, which pays their bills.
The legislative leadership and the governor need to find a distinguished legal figure to bridge the bureaucracies and find out what went wrong, including the decision to charge Tavares with manslaughter, instead of murder, in 1991. To honor the victims' memory and protect its citizens, Massachusetts needs to understand why Tavares slipped away.
Romney as manager? Not in his backyard
By JOSEPH W. MCQUAID
New Hampshire Union Leader Publisher
14 hours, 36 minutes ago
Here is what is wrong with Mitt Romney's "sanctuary mansion'' problem: For someone touting himself as a brilliant manager, he has fumbled badly an issue that should have been easily resolved long before now.
Romney can't plead ignorance or blame his aides for this one. He was told last year about the illegal aliens doing lawn work at his Massachusetts mansion. Having taken a hard campaign line on illegals, one would think he would have been smart enough to end that lawn service immediately.
Instead, we find out that Romney kept the service and, sure enough, two of the workers interviewed at his home just last week freely admitted, when asked, that, yes, they are illegals.
Romney's excuse that he was giving the firm a "second chance'' and demanding legal workers or else just doesn't wash. Seeking a second chance to exercise poor judgment in a campaign is foolish; and the owner of the service says Romney demanded no such thing anyway.
Romney is trying to win a Presidential race by convincing people that he knows how to run a business, or at least a campaign. If this is an example, it's not working.
"Text of Romney's speech"
The Associated Press
Friday, December 07, 2007
Text of Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney's speech yesterday on faith at the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum in College Station, Texas.
ROMNEY: Thank you, Mr. President for your kind introduction.
It is an honor to be here today. This is an inspiring place because of you and the first lady and because of the film that's exhibited across the way in the presidential library. For those who have not seen it, it shows the president as a young pilot, shot down during the Second World War, being rescued from his life raft by the crew of an American submarine. It's a moving reminder that when America has faced challenge and peril, Americans rise to the occasion, willing to risk their very lives to defend freedom and preserve our nation. We're in your debt, Mr. President. Thank you very, very much.
Mr. President, your generation rose to the occasion, first to defeat fascism and then to vanquish the Soviet Union. You left us, your children, a free and strong America. It is why we call yours the greatest generation. It's now my generation's turn. How we respond to today's challenges will define our generation. And it will determine what kind of America we will leave our children, and theirs.
America faces a new generation of challenges. Radical violent Islam seeks to destroy us. An emerging China endeavors to surpass our economic leadership. And we're troubled at home by government overspending, overuse of foreign oil, and the breakdown of the family.
Over the last year, we've embarked on a national debate on how best to preserve American leadership. Today, I wish to address a topic which I believe is fundamental to America's greatness: our religious liberty. I'll also offer perspectives on how my own faith would inform my presidency, if I were elected.
There are some who may feel that religion is not a matter to be seriously considered in the context of the weighty threats that face us. If so, they are at odds with the nation's founders, for they, when our nation faced its greatest peril, sought the blessings of the Creator. And further, they discovered the essential connection between the survival of a free land and the protection of religious freedom. In John Adams' words: "We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. ... Our Constitution," he said, "was made for a moral and religious people."
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.
Given our grand tradition of religious tolerance and liberty, some wonder whether there are any questions regarding an aspiring candidate's religion that are appropriate. I believe there are. And I'll answer them today.
Almost 50 years ago another candidate from Massachusetts explained that he was an American running for president, not a Catholic running for president. Like him, I am an American running for president. I do not define my candidacy by my religion. A person should not be elected because of his faith nor should he be rejected because of his faith.
Let me assure you that no authorities of my church, or of any other church for that matter, will ever exert influence on presidential decisions. Their authority is theirs, within the province of church affairs, and it ends where the affairs of the nation begin.
As governor, I tried to do the right as best I knew it, serving the law and answering to the Constitution. I did not confuse the particular teachings of my church with the obligations of the office and of the Constitution — and of course, I would not do so as president. I will put no doctrine of any church above the plain duties of the office and the sovereign authority of the law.
As a young man, Lincoln described what he called America's "political religion" — the commitment to defend the rule of law and the Constitution. When I place my hand on the Bible and take the oath of office, that oath becomes my highest promise to God. If I am fortunate to become your president, I will serve no one religion, no one group, no one cause and no one interest. A president must serve only the common cause of the people of the United States.
There are some for whom these commitments are not enough. They would prefer it if I would simply distance myself from my religion, say that it's more a tradition than my personal conviction, or disavow one or another of its precepts. That I will not do. I believe in my Mormon faith and I endeavor to live by it. 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 respecters — excuse me — believers of convenience.
Americans tire of those who would jettison their beliefs, even to gain the world. There is one fundamental question about which I often am asked. What do I believe about Jesus Christ? I believe that Jesus Christ is the son of God and the savior of mankind. My church's beliefs about Christ may not all be the same as those of other faiths. Each religion has its own unique doctrines and history. These are not bases for criticism but rather a test of our tolerance. Religious tolerance would be a shallow principle indeed if it were reserved only for faiths with which we agree.
There are some who would have a presidential candidate describe and explain his church's distinctive doctrines. To do so would enable the very religious test the founders prohibited in the Constitution. No candidate should become the spokesman for his faith. For if he becomes president he will need the prayers of the people of all faiths.
I believe that every faith I have encountered draws its adherents closer to God. And in every faith I have come to know, there are features I wish were in my own: I love the profound ceremony of the Catholic Mass, the approachability of God in the prayers of the evangelicals, the tenderness of spirit among the Pentecostals, the confident independence of the Lutherans, the ancient traditions of the Jews, unchanged through the ages, and the commitment to frequent prayer of the Muslims. As I travel across the country and see our towns and cities, I am always moved by the many houses of worship with their steeples, all pointing to heaven, reminding us of the source of life's blessings.
It's important to recognize that while differences in theology exist between the churches in America, we share a common creed of moral convictions. And where the affairs of our nation are concerned, it's usually a sound rule to focus on the latter, on the great moral principles that urge us all on a common course. Whether it was the cause of abolition, or civil rights, or the right to life itself, no movement of conscience can succeed in America that cannot speak to the convictions of religious people.
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's as if they are intent on establishing a new religion in America — the religion of secularism. They are wrong.
The founders proscribed the establishment of a state religion, but they did not countenance the elimination of religion from the public square. We are a nation "under God" and in God, we do indeed trust.
We should acknowledge the Creator as did the Founders in ceremony and word. He should remain on our currency, in our pledge, in the teaching of our history, and during the holiday season, nativity scenes and menorahs should be welcome in our public places. Our greatness would not long endure without judges who respect the foundation of faith upon which our constitution rests. I will take care to separate the affairs of government from any religion, but I will not separate us from 'the God who gave us liberty.'
Nor would I separate us from our religious heritage. Perhaps the most important question to ask a person of faith who seeks a political office, is this: Does he share these American values — the equality of human kind, the obligation to serve one another and a steadfast commitment to liberty?
They are not unique to any one denomination. They belong to the great moral inheritance we hold in common. They're the firm ground on which Americans of different faiths meet and stand as a nation, united.
We believe that every single human being is a child of God — we're all part of the human family. The conviction of the inherent and inalienable worth of every life is still the most revolutionary political proposition ever advanced. John Adams put it that we are "thrown into the world all equal and alike."
The consequence of our common humanity is our responsibility to one another, to our fellow Americans foremost, but also to every child of God. It's an obligation which is fulfilled by Americans every day, here and across the globe, without regard to creed or race or nationality.
Americans acknowledge that liberty is a gift of God, not an indulgence of government. No people in the — No people in the history of the world have sacrificed as much for liberty. The lives of hundreds of thousands of America's sons and daughters were laid down during the last century to preserve freedom, for us and for freedom loving people throughout the world. America took nothing from that century's terrible wars — no land from Germany or Japan or Korea, no treasure, no oath of fealty. America's resolve in the defense of liberty has been tested time and again. It has not been found wanting, nor must it ever be. America must never falter in holding high the banner of freedom.
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. I saw my parents provide compassionate care to others, in personal ways to people nearby, and in just as consequential ways in leading national volunteer movements. I am moved by the Lord's words: "For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat. I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink. I was a stranger, and ye took me in. Naked, and ye clothed me."
My faith is grounded on these truths. You can witness them in Ann and my marriage and in our family. We're a long way from perfect and we have surely stumbled along the way, but our aspirations, our values, are the self-same as those from the other faiths that stand upon this common foundation. And these convictions will indeed inform my presidency.
Today's generations of Americans have always known religious liberty. Perhaps we forget the long and arduous path our nation's forebears took to achieve it. They came here from England to seek freedom of religion. But upon finding it for themselves, they at first denied it to others. Because of their diverse beliefs, Ann Hutchinson was exiled from Massachusetts Bay, Roger Williams founded Rhode Island, and two centuries later, Brigham Young set out for the West. Americans were unable to accommodate their commitment to their own faith with an appreciation for the convictions of others to different faiths. In this, they were very much like those of the European nations they had left.
It was in Philadelphia that our founding fathers defined a revolutionary vision of liberty, grounded on self evident truths about the equality of all, and the inalienable rights with which each is endowed by his Creator.
We cherish these sacred rights, and secure them in our Constitutional order. Foremost do we protect religious liberty, not as a matter of policy but as a matter of right. There will be no established church, and we are guaranteed the free exercise of our religion.
I'm not sure that we fully appreciate the profound implications of our tradition of religious liberty. I've visited many of the magnificent cathedrals in Europe. They are so inspired, so grand and so empty. Raised up over generations, long ago, so many of the cathedrals now stand as the postcard backdrop to societies just too busy or too 'enlightened' to venture inside and kneel in prayer. The establishment of state religions in Europe did no favor to Europe's churches. And though you will find many people of strong faith there, the churches themselves seem to be withering away.
Infinitely worse is the other extreme, the creed of conversion by conquest: violent jihad, murder as martyrdom, killing Christians, Jews, and Muslims with equal indifference. These radical Islamists do their preaching not by reason or example, but in the coercion of minds and the shedding of blood. We face no greater danger today than theocratic tyranny, and the boundless suffering these states and groups could inflict if given the chance.
The diversity of our cultural expression, and the vibrancy of our religious dialogue, has kept America in the forefront of civilized nations even as others regard religious freedom as something to be destroyed.
In such a world, we can be deeply thankful that we live in a land where reason and religion are friends and allies in the cause of liberty, joined against the evils and dangers of the day. And you can be — You can be certain of this: Any believer in religious freedom, any person who has knelt in prayer to the Almighty, has a friend and ally in me. And so it is for hundreds of millions of our countrymen: We do not insist on a single strain of religion — rather, we welcome our nation's symphony of faith.
Recall the early days of the first Continental Congress in Philadelphia, during the fall of 1774. With Boston occupied by British troops, there were rumors of imminent hostilities and fears of an impending war. In this time of peril, someone suggested that they pray. But there were objections. "They were too divided in religious sentiment," what with Episcopalians and Quakers, Anabaptists and Congregationalists, Presbyterians and Catholics.
Then Sam Adams rose, and said he would hear a prayer from anyone of piety and good character, as long as they were a patriot.
And so together they prayed, and together they fought, and together, by the grace of God, they founded this great nation.
And in that spirit, let us give thanks to the divine "author of liberty." And together, let us pray that this land may always be blessed, "with freedom's holy light."
God bless this great land, the United States of America.
Mitt Romney drew the line at discussing the specifics of his faith.
"Romney vows a balance on religion: Declares he won't serve leaders of Mormon Church"
By Michael Levenson, Globe Staff | December 7, 2007
COLLEGE STATION, Texas - In the most closely scrutinized moment of his presidential campaign, Mitt Romney declared yesterday that religion is central to his life and to America, but that he will not be a spokesman for Mormonism or serve the leaders of his church if he is elected president.
Under pressure to confront suspicions about his faith, Romney attempted to strike a delicate balance, and drew mixed reviews. Many religious conservatives applauded his acknowledgement of the role of faith in public life, but other evangelicals said he did not fully address their concerns about Mormonism. Some civil libertarians said they were unnerved by Romney's impassioned call to expand the role of religion.
In the glare of the national media spotlight, Romney mentioned Mormonism only once, but said he would not retreat from it.
"My faith is the faith of my fathers - I will be true to them and to my beliefs," he said. "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 tire of those who would jettison their beliefs, even to gain the world."
And while he pledged to keep church and state separate, he also deplored what he called the diminution of religion in public life.
"I will take care to separate the affairs of government from any religion, but I will not separate us from the God who gave us liberty," Romney said, drawing applause from about 300 invited guests, including religious leaders.
"In recent years, the notion of the separation of church and state has been taken by some well beyond its original meaning . . . It is as if they are intent on establishing a new religion in America - the religion of secularism. They are wrong," he said.
Evangelical leaders said they were heartened by the sentiments. Several said that the speech would go a long way toward quelling misgivings about Romney, but that it would not put to rest concerns among those evangelicals who consider Mormonism heretical.
"He changed a lot of hearts and minds, but he didn't change them all," said Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission. "Clearly, some of them are not going to have their hearts and minds changed, but I think a lot of them will take a second look."
The speech was aimed partly at evangelicals like Land, who was invited to the speech, and it gave Romney a prominent and distinctly presidential setting - not to mention free air time on national cable television - to introduce himself to the broader electorate.
The stage at the George Bush Presidential Library was set with red carpet, 10 American flags, a blue curtain, and a podium with an eagle emblem. Romney entered with the former president's arm on his shoulder.
George H. W. Bush said he was not endorsing a candidate, but he praised the Romneys as a "great American family" and Romney as "this good man." He called Romney's father, George, "one of my mentors" and an example of what it means to be a "point of light."
The seats were filled with Romney's friends from Utah, Massachusetts, and Washington, D.C.; Romney's wife, Ann, and four of their five sons sat in the front row.
The audience applauded 14 times during the 20-minute address - most when Romney said he wanted to encourage religion in public life.
"Freedom requires religion just as religion requires freedom," Romney said. "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."
Some compared Romney's speech to one given by John F. Kennedy in his 1960 campaign before he was elected the first Catholic president. Like Kennedy, Romney said he would not bow to pressure from his church.
"If I am fortunate to become your president, I will serve no one religion, no one group, no one cause, and no one interest," Romney said.
Kennedy mentioned his Catholicism 20 times, but Romney alluded to Mormon doctrines only once, when he said he believes Jesus is the savior of mankind, but added that other Mormon beliefs about Christ may not be the same as other Christians'.
Gary Bauer, a former presidential candidate, said he was pleased with the approach.
"I think he did the right thing in not trying to explain or sell people on the specific details of Mormon theology," Bauer said in a telephone interview. "And I thought that his strong appeal to the idea that American liberty is ultimately strengthened by a strong faith-based set of values is the right analysis."
But Frank S. Page, president of the Southern Baptist Convention, said Romney did not go far enough to answer questions about Mormonism. "This only exacerbated the mystery and concerns," Page said in a telephone interview. "I do hope at some point that he will come out and be a little more open about it."
During hours of TV coverage of the speech, some political analysts said Romney's campaign was still vulnerable, but others marveled at how presidential he appeared.
But the Anti-Defamation League and others said they were concerned that a presidential candidate felt forced to publicly declare his faith.
"While it's good for Americans to hear a Republican candidate talk about the value of religious diversity, and the ways that church-state separation supports America's vibrant religious life, Romney undermined that message with his appeals to the Religious Right," People For the American Way said in a statement. "One thing is for sure, Romney is no Jack Kennedy."
In the speech, Romney drew on history and the language of Christianity to place Mormonism squarely in the nation's Judeo-Christian heritage and to argue that America is a tolerant but deeply religious nation.
He quoted President John Adams and asserted that America is united by a quest for religious freedom that stretches from Ann Hutchinson, who was exiled from Massachusetts Bay, and Roger Williams, who was banished to Rhode Island, to Brigham Young, the Mormon leader who settled in Utah.
"You can be certain of this: Any believer in religious freedom, any person who has knelt in prayer to the Almighty, has a friend and ally in me," Romney said.
At the end of his speech, Romney brought the audience to its feet with an anecdote about the First Continental Congress in 1774. Boston was occupied by British troops and there were fears of war. Someone suggested praying. Someone objected, saying the group was divided among Episcopalians, Quakers, Anabaptists, Congregationalists, Presbyterians, and Catholics.
"Then Sam Adams rose, and said he would hear a prayer from anyone of piety and good character, as long as they were a patriot," Romney said. "And so together they prayed, and together they fought, and together, by the grace of God, they founded this great nation."
As the applause washed over him, the usually unflappable Romney paused, the emotion showing on his face.
"God bless this great land," he concluded. "God bless the United States of America."
Michael Levenson can be reached at email@example.com.
THE BOSTON GLOBE
December 12, 2007
"Swift rips old foe, endorses McCain"
Call it Jane Swift's revenge.
The former acting governor of Massachusetts, who was rather unceremoniously elbowed aside by Mitt Romney, a fellow Republican, in the 2002 governor's race, twists the knife in an opinion piece yesterday.
She tells the voters of New Hampshire that Romney's "flip flops" on abortion and other issues to make himself more palatable to conservatives make him an easy target for Democrats.
"Today, Mitt Romney is campaigning on his record as governor; yet he has become unrecognizable to the citizens who voted him into office," Swift wrote in the New Hampshire Union Leader.
And in the unkindest cut for a Massachusetts Republican, she mentions Senator John F. Kerry, whose equivocations were exploited by President Bush in 2004. "Kerry's ability to convincingly connect with average Americans was undermined by their suspicion that today's press release was tomorrow's fish wrap," she argues.
Drawing an obvious contrast, Swift says she is supporting John McCain for the GOP nomination, in part because "he sticks to his beliefs, even when they are not politically popular." She plans to stump for him today in Portsmouth and Greenland, N.H.
Huckabee would lose to all 3 top Democrats, poll says
Mike Huckabee might be all the rage among Republicans, but party members might look askance at some poll numbers released yesterday that show that if the former Arkansas governor wins the GOP nomination, he would lose to all three leading Democrats.
Interestingly, the CNN/Opinion Research Corp survey suggests he would be drubbed worse by the Democrats trailing in the national polls.
In a hypothetical matchup with Hillary Clinton, Huckabee would lose 54 percent to 44 percent, according to the poll. He would lose 55 percent to 40 percent to Barack Obama, with whom he shares a campaign message of optimism and hope. And Huckabee would lose 60 percent to 35 percent to John Edwards, with whom he shares economic populism and Southern roots.
The poll of 912 registered voters was conducted Thursday through Sunday and has a margin of error of 3 percentage points.
Clinton gains union's nod; Shea-Porter backs Obama
Hillary Clinton received backing yesterday from the 100,000-member International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees.
The union, which represents workers in the movie, theater, and TV industries, settled a strike last month that shut down more than two dozen Broadway shows.
Meanwhile, Democratic rival Barack Obama yesterday officially picked up the endorsement of New Hampshire's second member of Congress, first-termer Carol Shea-Porter.
Obama's approach for grassroots grass-roots campaigning is what impressed her the most, Shea-Porter said.
Ads challenge candidates' stance on global poverty
WASHINGTON - Members of the bipartisan ONE campaign are encouraging people to ask the presidential candidates what they would do about the world's poorest people in $1.8 million worth of television ads to be shown in the weeks before the nation's first presidential contests.
ONE Vote '08 is the group's effort to get President Bush's successor to commit to concrete steps to combat hunger and disease while improving access to education and water across the globe.
The 30-second television spot is scheduled to air Friday in Iowa and New Hampshire, and on network cable, organizers said yesterday.
"Christ's candidate? Huck, Mitt play God games"
A UNION LEADER EDITORIAL
MITT ROMNEY gave an excellent speech on faith in America last Thursday. It was so good, you might not have caught the standard Romney straddle.
Religious tests for office are unAmerican, Romney said, so when it comes to questioning my faith, back off. Oh, and by the way Christian voters, I'm one of you!
It was classic Romney: a statement of vague platitudes we all agree on, mixed with an also vague message to conservatives that he's their guy. If former Baptist preacher Mike Huckabee is heaven's chosen candidate, Romney is limbo's. Whatever the issue, you'll always find him in the middle.
Meanwhile, Huckabee has ridden Christ's coattails all the way to first place in the Iowa polls and second place nationally by deftly exploiting anti-Mormon prejudice. Not very Christian of him.
But as governor of Arkansas Huckabee was too Christian. He put the principle of forgiveness over the principle of justice, pardoning 1,033 criminals. He evidently forgot that it's God's job to dispense heavenly justice, the state's job to dispense earthly justice.
While both Romney and Huckabee are using their faith as a political wedge, other Christian candidates are discussing their faith honestly and ethically. If Americans want to see how politicians can handle questions of faith with honor and dignity, they can look to John McCain and Barack Obama, who have set an example others should follow.
NH Union Leader, Tuesday, December 11, 2007, Page A9
ANOTHER VIEW: Jane Swift – served as Acting Governor of Massachusetts from 2001 to 2003.
“If Republicans nominate flip-flop Romney, they’ll lose”
By Jane Swift
You have seen the cover stories. You have heard the jokes. Mitt Romney’s flip-flops have provided endless fodder for the late night talk show circuit. But just beneath the humorous surface lies the Democratic strategy for defeating a Romney ticket come November, and history shows this strategy works.
American voters don’t trust chronic flip-floppers. Sure, everyone is free to switch a position here and there, but too many changes of heart and you risk offending the country’s sense of integrity and fair play. George Bush’s 2004 victory over John Kerry is a great example. My Democratic friends groan when I remind them of this line: “I actually did vote for the $87 billion before I voted against it.” Kerry’s ability to convincingly connect with average Americans was undermined by their suspicion that today’s press release was tomorrow’s fish wrap.
More troubling to me, though, is Mitt Romney’s denunciation of key political beliefs he professed during his campaigns for public office in Massachusetts. Flash back to 1994 and 2002, and you will see a very different candidate. Then, he was a typical Massachusetts Republican – conservative on fiscal issues, progressive on social issues. He pledged to be more effective than Ted Kennedy on gay rights. He backed the Brady Bill Assault Weapons Ban. He even supported the so-called “morning after” pill. Invoking his trailblazing mother, Romney made an ironclad commitment to Roe v. Wade.
But a funny thing happened on the way to The White House. Today, Mitt Romney is campaigning on his record as governor; yet he has become unrecognizable to the citizens who voted him into office.
I should know. As a Massachusetts state senator (from Berkshire County), I was one of Mitt’s early supporters in his 1994-contested primary for the United States Senate. As acting governor of Massachusetts in 2002, I ended my own campaign for the Republican nomination to give Romney the best opportunity to beat the Democratic candidate (Shannon O’Brien) that November.
This bluest of blue states had a long, successful string of GOP governors (since broken with the election of Deval Patrick in 2006). Thanks to two-party government, Massachusetts was finally able to shed its “Taxachusetts” label. And despite an economic downturn and the 2001 terrorist attacks, the GOP leadership had laid a strong foundation for growth and recovery. Mitt Romney looked like a winner committed to the principles that had put Massachusetts back on track.
Once elected governor, however, Romney began his transformation of consciousness. His flip-flops on social issues are well documented. But Romney also raised taxes – more than $700 million per year in increased fees and corporate taxes. A 2003 survey by the National Conference of State Legislatures found that Massachusetts imposed the highest fee hikes in the country.
As his national ambitions grew larger, it seems Massachusetts grew smaller in Romney’s rearview mirror. The governor who promised to be the salesman-in-chief for his state’s economy instead toured the country using us as the butt of his jokes.
It is no surprise, then, that Massachusetts still continues to struggle to reclaim the jobs it lost during the post-0/11 downturn. A recent report published by MassINC, a nonpartisan think tank, revealed that in recent years Massachusetts ranked last in job creation when compared to its 10 economic competitor states. It is the only one of those states not to recover the jobs it had during the 2001 peak business cycle and only one of six states nationally.
Politics is a definition game. If candidates don’t successfully define themselves, others will gladly do it for them. Being defined as a chronic flip-flopper will make Mitt Romney particularly vulnerable. John McCain—the candidate I support—is not. I have great admiration for John McCain because he sticks to his beliefs, even when they are not politically popular. He is defined by his courage. He is respected for his honesty. We disagree on important social issues, but I know where he stands and why. There is no doubt that the John McCain we see today is the same John McCain we will see as the Republican nominee and as President of the United States.
In a Romney-Clinton match up, Democrats need only take a page from the George W. Bush playbook: Undermine the voters’ sense that Romney can be trusted by highlighting the number of times he is conveniently changed his mind. And don’t forget: He will have to do some more flipping if he becomes the party’s nominee. Romney would have to tack back toward the middle – where most American voters comfortably sit – in order to win. That might just be a flip-flop-flap.
Editorial, Thursday, December 13, 2007, Page 20
“In GOP, what goes around …”
No doubt about it, Massachusetts is one of those places where the grudges are indeed never forgotten. So what could be more amusing than having former acting Governor Jane Swift getting in her digs at the man who literally ran her off the state ballot in 2002 – Mitt Romney.
In a column in the NH Union Leader (on Tuesday, December 11, 2007), Swift blasted Romney as the quintessential flip-flopper and one the Democrats would have a field day with should he be nominated. Swift is supporting Sen. John McCain in the GOP presidential contest, but clearly she was having much too much fun whacking around Romney.
The broader truth is that Romney left the state’s minuscule Republican Party in shambles and today the shootout in the GOP lifeboats continues apace.
[NH Union Leader, Monday, December 17, 2007, Page A9]
[To the Editors:]
Re: “If Republicans nominate flip-flop Romney, they’ll lose” (An Op-Ed column by Jane Swift, NH Union Leader, 12/11/2007): [Regarding the op-ed piece by Jane Swift on Dec. 11,] Jane Swift is a flip-flopper too.
As a native of the Berkshires, I watched my then-State Senator consistently vote against bringing back the death penalty to Massachusetts. Then in 1998, Paul Cellucci made bringing back the death penalty one his top campaign issues for governor.
Cellucci picked Swift as his running mate, and overnight Jane Swift changed her position on the death penalty.
Jonathan A. Melle
[30 Hanover Street
THE BOSTON GLOBE: Op-Ed
"McCain is no ordinary hero"
By Jane Swift | December 14, 2007
THERE IS only one presidential candidate with the courage, character, and conviction to lead this country: John McCain.
I can't say I recall Oct. 26, 1967. I was 2 when John McCain was shot down and captured by the North Vietnamese. But I've seen the chilling footage. I've heard his band of brothers attest to his bravery. I've listened to him humbly describe the acts of humanity he witnessed during his years in prison. Most impressive, I've watched him build a life of service to his country, without bitterness or recrimination.
McCain is no ordinary hero, and these are no ordinary times.
America's ability to maintain a thriving economy and a strong defense hinges on electing a president willing to make the tough calls. McCain's career has been defined by independent leadership. His relentless attacks on pork-barrel spending haven't won him popularity contests in the Senate cloakroom, but he can sleep at night knowing that he made the right choices for America.
True to his conservative values, McCain understands that fiscal restraint requires setting priorities and sticking to them. We have urgent national challenges - wars on multiple fronts, skyrocketing debt, unfunded entitlements - and yet, Congress still finds the time and the dollars for pet projects that deflect resources from our true national interests. McCain is the only candidate with the experience and conviction to level with Americans and force Congress to do the right thing.
He's also the only Republican who can win. American voters evaluate candidates with two criteria: first, on their issue positions. Does she or he believe what I believe? Education policy is my top concern. As one of McCain's advisers on the issue, I've discussed the challenges of providing an excellent education to every child. He is willing to do what it takes to get us there.
At the same time, it's rare for a voter and a candidate to agree on absolutely everything. Case in point: McCain and I disagree on the issue of abortion, but we maintain a mutual respect. Millions of Americans feel the same way.
That's why the second criterion is more of a gut check. Americans are aspirational people. We seek leadership. We crave integrity. Today's voter is in search of a president who can elevate politics above self interest and petty partisanship.
McCain's approach to the troop surge in Iraq is a perfect example. Critics assailed the plan as Quixotic at best and ill conceived at worst, but McCain believed it would work. His standing in the polls plummeted. He refused to change his position. "I'd rather lose an election than a war," he said - spoken like someone who has been on the battlefield. That's leadership. That's presidential.
The defining moment of my time as governor was Sept. 11, 2001. I recall with clarity and horror the experience of that day. My understanding of what it means to lead changed forever, and I have a much deeper awareness of the challenges associated with keeping an open society safe. It takes more than excellent management skills and inspirational rhetoric. Certainly, a president needs to muster both.
It takes the ability to see the larger picture. Combating terrorism depends on a strong military and excellent intelligence. No candidate has better judgment when it comes to how and when to deploy force than John McCain. It depends on strong allies. No candidate has more experience on the international stage, and no candidate is more respected by our friends and feared by our foes. And it depends on a keen understanding of the geopolitical forces that limit our ability to operate in our best interests - from poor border security to environmental meltdown to dependence on foreign oil. No candidate knows these issues better than McCain.
This election offers the rare opportunity to choose the right man for the right moment. Let's take it and be proud we did.
Jane Swift served as acting governor of Massachusetts from 2001 to 2003.
THE BOSTON GLOBE: Op-Ed
"Romney is the kind of leader we need"
By William F. Weld | December 14, 2007
MY FONDEST MEMORY of my two terms as governor of Massachusetts in the 1990s was that we reversed the tax-and-spend policies of the Dukakis years, and put the Commonwealth on a new diet of "Live Free or Die" philosophy and "supply-side" economics. From 1991 to 1997, we had 19 tax cuts in Massachusetts, and not a single tax increase. The result, predictably, was an economic resurgence.
I was therefore thrilled when Mitt Romney was elected governor in 2002 and accelerated the Commonwealth's course of fiscal conservatism.
I believe that Romney was a very effective leader for our state. He came into office facing a nearly $3 billion budget gap. Even Democrats conceded that this was the worst fiscal crisis since the Depression. Instead of raising taxes or borrowing more money, Romney cut spending and closed the budget gap. As one commentator said, he "didn't just go after the sacred cows, he went after the whole herd." In his first year, government spending declined from $22.8 billion in Fiscal 2002 to $22.4 billion in Fiscal 2003. This was a tremendous success that Romney would continue to match throughout his four years as head of the Commonwealth. Seeing what he did in Massachusetts, I am proud to support Romney and believe he is the kind of leader we need in Washington.
Anyone who claims that Romney did not cut taxes in Massachusetts is simply mistaken. He cut capital gains taxes, benefiting well over 150,000 residents. Thousands more are currently benefiting from new jobs in the biotech field because of Romney's manufacturing tax relief and because he made the investment tax credit permanent. Thousands of Massachusetts families saved their hard-earned dollars when Romney enacted sales tax holidays. Seniors are benefiting from property tax relief proposed and signed into law by Romney. Our honorable veterans and National Guard members have several new tax breaks because of Romney's belief that they should be taxed less. Commuters can now deduct expenses for travel because Romney believes they shouldn't be penalized for helping increase commerce.
Romney's fiscal achievements were not his only accomplishments in Massachusetts.
Besides tackling government waste and inefficiency, he halted the state's economic tailspin and added tens of thousands of new jobs. He signed into law a health insurance reform modeled on a conservative market-oriented approach that emphasizes personal responsibility. He started the Adams Scholarship, a merit-based program that awards the top 25 percent of high school students in Massachusetts with four years of free tuition at a Massachusetts public college or university. He instituted English immersion in the public schools and abolished the old bilingual education system.
This is a real record of achievement that Romney is running on across the country. I am proud to endorse his candidacy for president of the United States.
William F. Weld was governor of Massachusetts from 1991 to 1997.
THE BOSTON GLOBE: Op-Ed
"Rudy will shake up Washington"
By Paul Cellucci | December 14, 2007
AS AN ELECTED official for many years from a bordering state that shares a major media market, it's not surprising that I've been heavily involved in many New Hampshire Republican primaries. Among others, I helped George H.W. Bush there in 1980 and 1988, and Governor George W. Bush in 2000.
Given my past participation in the presidential nominating process, most people assumed I'd jump in again this time around, and I have. But I'm doing it on behalf of Rudy Giuliani rather than my home state governor, Mitt Romney.
This was surprising to some - probably because, historically, most major candidates have enjoyed virtually unanimous support from elected officials of their party in the state they represented.
But for me it was an easy choice for the following reason: Rudy Giuliani's record of achievement in office and the fact that he is an uncommonly strong leader.
Reinventing New York City - a city that was a mess and decaying rapidly - was no small task, but Giuliani got it done. And he got it done despite having to work with, and battle with, a city council dominated by Democrats. He engineered closing a budget deficit of $2.3 billion and cutting taxes 23 times. Unemployment was cut in half with the creation of 400,000 private-sector jobs.
He reduced the tax burden in New York City by 17 percent over eight years, achieving significant broad-based tax relief including cutting the income tax. He reformed welfare, led the way to a staggering reduction in crime, cleaned the city up, and changed New York City forever in a positive way. It went from being the crime capital of the country to being one of our safest cities.
Many argued that New York City just could not be transformed. It took an extraordinarily strong leader to do so. Our country could use someone like Rudy, who will shake Washington to its core just like he did New York City.
Why not Mitt Romney? The fact is that Rudy did more, for a longer time, achieved better results, and was more fiscally conservative - something near and dear to my heart.
In four years under Romney, the tax burden in Massachusetts increased by 10 percent with no broad-based tax relief and no income tax cut. Romney promised to cut the income tax from 5.3 percent to 5 percent by the end of his term. It should have been a layup, as it was mandated by the voters in a 2000 ballot initiative, but it never happened.
And there were tax increases in Massachusetts as well, as Romney raised business taxes and vastly increased fees, amounting to billions of dollars out of the bank accounts of taxpayers and their employers throughout his term.
There is a reason the head of the free-market Club for Growth said that Rudy's economic accomplishments were "remarkable." There's also a reason the fiscally conservative CATO Institute gave Romney just a "C" in its rankings of governors' fiscal policies.
The bottom line is this: On Republican meat-and-potato issues like taxes, spending, welfare reform, and crime, Giuliani is the most conservative and accomplished candidate in this race. We need him as our party's nominee because he is a leader who has the philosophy, record, accomplishments, and consistent vision that will be needed to win the general election in November.
Paul Cellucci was governor of Massachusetts from 1997 to 2001 and US ambassador to Canada from 2001 to 2005.
"Romney's Life Is His Father's Legacy"
By STEVE LeBLANC – AP - 15-December-2007
BOSTON (AP) — From his carefully coifed hair to his data-driven business principles to his unwavering devotion to his oft-maligned Mormon faith, Mitt Romney is the spitting image of his father physically, professionally and morally.
The depth of their bond can be seen in one early story.
At 18, Mitt Romney met a 15-year-old girl with whom he felt he could share his life. He then left for a year of college and a 2 1/2-year Mormon mission in France, during which time his father not only took his future wife, Ann Davies, to church, but converted her to their faith.
"Your gal looked lovely as always," George Romney wrote to his son in February 1967. "I sat next to her in church and asked if that ring of yours on her engagement finger meant what it usually means, and she said it did."
While the son was frustrated at getting doors slammed in his face as he tried to find converts in a heavily Catholic nation, the father was proud of the success in winning over not only Ann, raised an Episcopalian, but also her brother, Jim.
At the time, George Romney was governor of Michigan and former chairman of American Motors. Ann's father, Edward Davies, had a less lofty title as the part-time mayor of Bloomfield Hills, Mich., where both families lived.
"This makes two converts here that are certainly yours, so don't worry about your difficulty in converting those Frenchmen," George Romney wrote to his son. "I am sure you can appreciate that Ann and Jim are worth a dozen of them, at least to us."
By the time Mitt returned in 1969, Ann's conversion was complete. Three months later the couple — he was 22, she 19 — married, first in a civil ceremony in Ann's home and the next day in the Mormon temple in Salt Lake City.
Today, Mitt Romney highlights his 38-year marriage, his five sons and the family life he's built with Ann as he runs for the Republican presidential nomination.
"My dad is my life hero," said Romney. "I probably would have never thought about politics, it would have never crossed my mind, had I not seen him do it. He's the real pioneer."
Asked recently to name his most treasured possession, Mitt Romney had a quick answer: A 1962 Rambler his sons gave him on his 60th birthday. The relic was manufactured during George Romney's final year as American Motors chairman.
The youngest of George and Lenore Romney's four children, Willard Mitt Romney was born on March 12, 1947, a "miracle baby," his father wrote, because Lenore Romney no longer thought she could become pregnant.
Mitt developed a passion for his father's business and sat alongside George Romney as he pored over auto trade publications. The son absorbed the smallest details of the auto industry, down to the minutiae of each car's design.
"I used to brag that you could show me one square foot and I could pick out the model and the year of the car," he said.
Although they lived a privileged life in the Detroit suburbs, Romney's parents sought to instill working-class values by making sure the kids pitched in with chores. That included shoveling before dawn during snowstorms.
Democrats dominated Michigan in the 1960s, no surprise given the strong auto industry and its union workers. What was a surprise was George Romney's success in being elected governor in 1962 as a Republican.
Like the auto business, Mitt Romney learned politics at the kitchen table. Father invited son to strategy sessions, giving him a front row seat on the campaign.
"I saw how he solicited views from other people, how he built a team of great individuals, how he made decisions based on data and analysis and solid thinking and not just gut feeling or opinion," Romney said.
The son would later serve as driver and advance man when Lenore Romney ran unsuccessfully for the Senate in 1970 on a Republican platform notable for its embrace of abortion rights.
Romney's most formative political experience came during the 1968 presidential campaign.
George Romney was an early favorite after launching his campaign from the family's summer home on Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire. Then, during an interview shortly after he visited Vietnam, he expressed frustration with the increasingly unpopular war and with the generals he felt were misleading the public.
"I'd just had the greatest brainwashing that anybody can get," George Romney told a television reporter.
"Brainwashing" became "brainwashed" in some accounts, and before Romney knew it, a throwaway line had blossomed into questions about his mental health. He quit the campaign a few weeks before the New Hampshire primary.
Back at his typewriter, George Romney put the loss in perspective for his son.
"Your mother and I are not personally distressed," he wrote. "As a matter of fact we are relieved."
The reversal of fortune was bitter for Mitt Romney and would grate on him for the next four decades.
One day as a Cub Scout, young Mitt and some friends spotted a young girl across a set of railroad tracks, riding a horse bareback.
"What do Cub Scouts do when they see a little girl on a horse?" Romney recalled in a later interview. "We picked up stones and threw them."
Fast-forward to a friend's house party several years later, when Mitt Romney, then 18, spied the same girl, Ann Davies.
This time, Mitt offered 15-year-old Ann a ride home, even though they came with different dates. Later he would confess he was smitten by the fetching teen. Their first date was all-American: a screening of "The Sound of Music."
On another outing, Mitt and Ann joined others in using ice blocks to slide down hills at a local golf course at night.
"We did that with a bunch of high school friends and got caught and got put in the paddy wagons," Ann Romney recalled. "He was just fun, fun, fun to be with him in high school."
As their relationship deepened, Ann asked Mitt about his religion. He feared she would be scared off, but he did his best to explain the basic tenets of the faith. Instead of running away, Ann found in the religion something missing in her life.
Romney proposed marriage at the senior prom. In the fall of 1965, he left for Stanford University but put his studies on hold after one year to undertake his missionary trek — a tradition among male members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the proper name for the Mormon church.
Then, in June 1968, Mitt Romney died — briefly.
He was driving the president of the Mormon mission in France, H. Duane Anderson, and four others on a winding road when their Citroen was struck head-on by a Mercedes that had just passed a truck.
Anderson's wife was killed. A police officer took the unconscious 21-year-old driver for dead and wrote "Il est mort" ("He is dead") on Romney's passport.
As word trickled back to Michigan, George Romney appealed to the U.S. ambassador to France, Sargent Shriver, brother-in-law to Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., for assistance. Shriver tracked down Romney, battered but alive, in a local hospital.
When he resumed his studies, he went to Brigham Young University, the Mormon institution where Ann had enrolled. Students there embrace the church's prohibitions on alcohol, caffeine and premarital sex — one reason Romney said so many married young. The first of their five sons, Taggert, was born on their one-year anniversary.
The 1960s was a period of social and political tumult amid the Vietnam War and political assassinations. In part because of his limited time at Stanford, in part because of his collegiate hiatus for his mission work, in part because he attended button-down BYU, Romney stayed above the fray.
He avoided military service, first because of a student deferment, then because of his missionary work. In 1969, when he was finally eligible for the draft, he drew No. 300 in the lottery. No one with a number above 195 was taken that year.
George Romney wanted his son to go to law school after BYU, but Mitt wanted to attend business school. He opted for both, enrolling in a dual-degree program at Harvard in 1971. Over five years, he would simultaneously earn a law degree from Harvard Law School and an MBA from Harvard Business School.
Ann and Mitt Romney settled in the leafy Boston suburb of Belmont. Romney reveled in the role of husband and father, loading up son Tagg and his four brothers in a station wagon to take the family on vacations and day trips.
In June 1981, the family set off for an outing at a nearby lake. A park ranger told Romney not to launch his freshly painted boat, saying its registration numbers weren't properly displayed. He threatened a $50 fine.
In typical spreadsheet fashion, Romney calculated the fine as an acceptable price for his outing and decided to launch the boat anyway. The ranger quickly arrested him for disorderly conduct and hauled him off to the station.
The charges were dropped and the records sealed after Romney threatened to sue.
It was a rare clash with authority — and evidence of how vigorously Romney would protect his reputation.
He graduated with honors from law school and in the top 5 percent of his business class, helping him land a prized job at the Boston Consulting Group. He used his analytical and financial skills to help companies streamline their operations and fatten their bottom lines.
He moved to a rival consulting firm, Bain & Co., in 1977, then headed a spin-off envisioned to combine analytical and management expertise with investments in promising companies.
With Romney at the helm, Bain Capital helped launch or reshape hundreds of companies, including Staples and Domino's Pizza. Romney went on to make tens of millions of dollars, part of a net worth now estimated at up to $250 million.
"He's able to focus through all the noise," said Bob White, a longtime friend and business associate.
Romney's leadership ability was needed in an unusual way in July 1996, when a Bain Capital partner called to say his teenage daughter had gone missing in New York City after a concert.
Romney shut down the company, gathered as many partners and employees as he could and raced to join the search. Soon Bain workers were pairing up to scour the city's parks and bars.
"It was like a needle in a haystack," White said.
Nonetheless, Romney's efforts caught the attention of a local television station, whose report in turn led to a tip from someone in the same house where the missing teenager ended up. Police traced the call and located the girl.
In 1994, Romney decided to follow his father's path into politics. And like George Romney, Mitt did not shy from a political challenge. In one of the bluest of Democratic states, the Republican decided to challenge Kennedy, a liberal icon.
Romney started off strong, tapping into a well of Kennedy fatigue. But Kennedy rallied and focused on some of Bain Capital's business deals. He The Kennedy campaign brought in workers from one Indiana business, Ampad, where Bain had laid off employees, cut wages and slashed benefits.
Kennedy ended up winning the election 58 percent to 41 percent.
"He had been advertised by certain pundits as being over the hill, but he is far from it," Romney said. "He took me to school."
The two would meet again for a political fence-mending in 2000, when Romney led Kennedy on a tour of the newly completed Mormon temple in Belmont, less than a half-mile from Romney's home.
The structure with its brilliant white spire was the 100th Mormon temple in the world and a personal achievement for Romney, who worked to spread the faith in New England, where he served as a bishop and later as president of a collection of churches.
He also found an outlet for civic service in the community service organization City Year, according to the organization's co-founder Michael Brown. Romney made sure both Bain Capital and Bain & Co. supported the group.
"He would dive right in. He would get the dirtiest," Brown said, recalling one year when Romney helped build a new playground. "He got right in there in the cement."
Civic service on a grander scale lay ahead.
In the late 1990s, Utah, the seat of Romney's Mormon faith, was reeling. To land the 2002 Winter Olympics, the Salt Lake Organizing Committee had enticed International Olympics officials with lavish gifts. Accusations of bribery mired the Games in scandal. Resignations sullied the region's reputation.
Utah officials went looking for a white knight — someone above reproach with business savvy who could not only restore confidence in their leadership but also in the Games and their host city. They turned to Romney.
A friend in Utah suggested Ann float the idea with her husband.
"Ann called me at the office and said, 'Now, don't say no right away,' and she put forth the proposition, and I said no right away," Romney said. "Over time, she convinced me that the Olympics was more than a sporting event."
It didn't hurt that the Olympics had an international profile. Romney took the job of president and CEO of the organizing committee. He pared the budget, boosted revenues and worked to repair the committee's reputation with sponsors.
Then came Sept. 11, 2001. In the aftermath of the terror attacks, Romney found himself at the helm of a ripe target.
Romney turned risk into reward. Backed by unprecedented federal support, the Games opened under the tightest security in Olympic history. International support for the United States welled at the opening ceremonies, where Romney and President Bush walked to the middle of the Olympic stadium to await the arrival of an American flag from the toppled World Trade Center.
The Games cemented Romney's reputation as a "turnaround" king. That prompted his return to the political arena.
While he was trying to salvage the Olympics, Massachusetts' once booming economy had flatlined. State Republicans, who had held the governor's office since 1991, sought out Romney after Gov. Paul Cellucci headed off to Canada as U.S. ambassador and his replacement, Lt. Gov. Jane Swift, stumbled.
"It would be disingenuous to say he was a reluctant bride," said Ron Kaufman, a national Republican committeeman from Massachusetts who is now advising Romney's presidential campaign committee. "But it was a legitimate draft."
Romney presented himself as a fiscal conservative and social moderate. He opposed new taxes, but he also pledged not to change the state's abortion laws and vowed support for gay rights and other liberal items. Boosted by more than $6 million of his own money, he won.
The victory only sharpened the parallels with his father's life: successful businessman, dedicated family man and, now, governor.
Romney brought a CEO's focus to state government, as well as a relentless focus on control. His staff put up velvet ropes wherever he went, separating him from reporters and the public. He also displayed a sense of humor, such as the time he got even with a State Police trooper on his protective detail who had shortsheeted Romney's bed in a Florida hotel.
Romney grabbed a piece of hotel stationery, typed a note to himself from a fake hotel manager and said the room's maid had been fired for the linen mishap. Then the governor made sure the note leaked to the trooper.
When the nervous trooper approached him to confess, Romney chortled, "April Fool's."
Daniel Winslow, who served as the governor's legal counsel, said Romney has a "corny sense of humor" and is a big fan of The Three Stooges.
When a story broke about Romney and his sons using Jet Skis to pull a family out of Lake Winnipesaukee — Romney saved the family dog — the staff put a stuffed Scottie on his chair dressed in swim trunks and a life preserver.
"He got a good laugh out of that," Winslow said.
Thomas Finneran, who served as speaker of the Massachusetts House during the first years of Romney's term, said Romney always impressed him as "a bright guy."
But, Finneran said, "One of the lingering memories I will have is the sense of missed opportunities." The former speaker, a Democrat, said Romney chose battles with lawmakers for political gain over real accomplishments.
"We could have and should have accomplished more than we did in those first couple of years," Finneran said. "After those initial years, it was clear his mind was on something else."
His final year in office, Romney spent more than 220 days outside Massachusetts, laying the groundwork for his presidential campaign.
His gubernatorial tenure coincided with some of the most socially divisive debates in the country. In 2003, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled that gay couples couldn't be denied marriage licenses.
Romney fought the decision, but he failed to reverse it.
By the end of 2005, Romney approached a self-imposed deadline for deciding whether to seek re-election. His father had served three terms, but Romney decided to leave after just one.
"My decision comes down to this," he said. "In this four-year term, we can accomplish what I set out to do. In fact, we've already accomplished a great deal."
Romney spent the bulk of the next year on the road, except for brief appearances back home, including his signing of the state's landmark health care law.
The other exception was in July 2006, when ceiling panels in a tunnel in Boston's just-completed Big Dig highway project collapsed, crushing a car and killing a Boston woman.
Romney seized control of the board overseeing the project and held daily news conferences, coolly explaining what went wrong — drawing diagrams with black markers on sheets of white paper.
By the time of his final, symbolic "lone walk" down the front steps of the Massachusetts Statehouse last January with his wife, Romney had matched his father's life arc, stride for stride, all the way to the starting line for a presidential campaign.
In February, Romney formally declared his candidacy for the presidency at the Henry Ford Museum in his native Michigan, an American Motors Rambler over his shoulder, a reminder of George Romney's entry into politics.
"The fact that he took that path, of course, has made that something I would consider," Mitt Romney said of his beloved father, who died in 1995. "Otherwise it probably wouldn't have entered my thinking."
"Campaign surrogate follies of the week"
By Howie Carr, The Boston Herald, Friday, December 14, 2007
They’re not making campaign surrogates like they used to - at least this week.
Just ask Argeo Paul Cellucci, Jane Swift and Billy Shaheen - a former governor, a former acting governor and a governor’s spouse.
Ladies first, so let’s begin with Swift. She is campaigning for Sen. John McCain, because she always did have a thing for older men. So Swifty wrote an op-ed piece in the Manchester Union Leader whacking Mitt. The lesson here: It’s OK to have an agenda, just don’t lie about it.
I refer, of course, to the smoking gun in Swifty’s piece: “As acting governor of Massachusetts in 2002, I ended my own campaign for the Republican nomination to give Romney the best opportunity to beat the Democratic candidate that November.”
No, Jane, you ended your campaign because you were behind Mitt among likely Republican voters by a margin of 75-12. That’s right, Jane, you were the incumbent GOP governor and you were trailing among Republicans by a margin of 75-12, which is more than somewhat outside the margin of error.
Being indicted would have been less embarrassing than finding oneself on the short end of a 75-12 poll.
Our next case study involves Swifty’s mentor, Argeo Paul Cellucci. The former governor has practically been camped out in Newton at VideoLink, doing liveshots for Rudy Giuliani. So Wednesday morning, Mr. Ambassador is doing a hit on CNBC’s “SquawkBox”. Back in the New York studio, the guest co-host was Tom Stemberg, Mitt Romney’s former business partner and co-chairman of the Romney campaign.
Lesson here: Never forget who’s in the other box on the TV screen.
Cellucci starts off with some boilerplate about the Federal Reserve and then leads with his chin: “I can tell you during Mitt Romney’s four years the tax burden in Massachusetts went up about 10 percent because he . . .”
Stemberg cut him off, and remember, the guy in the studio always has the home-field advantage: “Governor, that’s not true. Because the fact of the matter is that Mitt Romney did not raise a single tax during his administration and fixed the tunnel you ruined.”
Ouch! Game, set and match to Stemberg. To throw in yet another sports analogy, Mr. On-Time-and-On-Budget was down for the count.
Finally, we come to Mr. Jeanne Shaheen, Billy Shaheen, a Hillary Clinton coatholder in New Hampshire, where her campaign is in freefall.
Shaheen’s lesson: Always make sure you’re off the record before you start sliming somebody, especially with mud that isn’t even true. That way you can blame it on Republicans, the way the Clintonistas did when Bob Novak did a column on their whispering campaign about Barack a few weeks back.
Shaheen’s money quote, on the record to The Washington Post, concerned the questions that might be asked of Barack Obama’s drug use: “When was the last time? Did you ever give drugs to anyone? Did you sell them to anyone? There are so many openings for Republican dirty tricks.”
So obviously Billy only read half the memo, the part about blaming the rumors on “Republican dirty tricks.” He skipped over the first part, about how you have to tell the reporter you’re off the record before you start whispering.
What a bleep-up. Who knew? Not just Sununu. Everybody in the world knew, and soon Billy was issuing a statement saying, “I deeply regret the comments I made today.”
And of course the mandatory lie: “They were not authorized by the campaign in any way.”
Right. Next thing you know, Paul Cellucci will be saying the Big Dig is still on time and on budget. And Swifty dropped out of the 2002 governor’s race to help Mitt.
Cellucci was an incompetent boob when he was governor, one of the worst we've ever had. He should shut his mouth and go back to being forgotten. Giuliani is a fool if he uses Cellucci for anything, it will cost him votes as many people remember how Cellucci screwed over gun owner's by signing MA's unconstitutional gun control act in 1998 and his miserable handling of the Big Dig. Cellucci is an embarrassment to the republican party.
"The state could have stopped him: Failures in Massachusetts freed inmate now accused in 2 slayings"
The Boston Globe, December 18, 2007, This story was reported by Shelley Murphy, Jonathan Saltzman, and Scott Allen of the Boston Globe staff. It was written by Allen.
GRAHAM, Wash. - Ma and Pa's Roundup is the kind of hole in the wall where everyone turns to look at the rare newcomers who venture through its doors, which is exactly what happened the night that Daniel T. Tavares Jr. came striding in.
Tavares had a tattoo of a raging bull on his neck. He announced he had a stash of crystal meth in his pocket. He said he had ties to the Mafia and owned his own tattoo business. And he let it drop that, by the way, he had killed three people back in Boston.
"He didn't belong here," said manager Justin Greenwood, a burly, bearded man who twice ejected Tavares from the Roundup that November night - the second time screaming, profanity included, in his face to get out of the bar.
Greenwood had no idea that he had just gone chest-to-chest with a fugitive from Massachusetts with a history of horrific violence, a man who killed his mother with a carving knife, led police to another woman's corpse in his former backyard, and threatened Mitt Romney and his own father. Hours after leaving the Roundup, Tavares is believed to have killed again. He allegedly killed a couple who lived across the street from his trailer, shooting each one three times in the head.
In retrospect, Tavares's odyssey from a cell in the most restrictive section of MCI-Cedar Junction to unfettered liberty in the foothills of Washington's Mount Rainier should never have happened. But how it did, how a mentally ill, drug-abusing killer was unleashed on a rural community 3,000 miles away, exposes breakdowns throughout the criminal justice system in Massachusetts, a Globe investigation shows.
Massachusetts officials had repeated opportunities to keep Tavares behind bars as his sentence for killing his mother came to an end last summer, including the hearing July 16 in which Tavares, facing more criminal charges for assaulting prison guards, appeared in Superior Court asking that he be set free until trial. The hearing could have provided a chance to discuss his history of threats and violence, but it took Judge Kathe M. Tuttman less than 10 minutes to waive bail and release Tavares.
Though Tuttman has absorbed most of the criticism, an extensive review of Tavares's file shows that prosecutors rejected or ignored serious concerns about the inmate raised by police and prison officials over a 16-year period. As a result, his bail review was handled like countless others that take place every day in state courts, when it was anything but routine:
The Worcester County prosecutor who argued to keep Tavares in prison at that July 16 hearing had so little information about the inmate that he never mentioned Tavares's egregious prison record that included more than 100 serious disciplinary complaints, never said Tavares had killed his mother, and never challenged Tavares's claim that he was about to begin a new life as a welder in Dighton.
The main purpose of the hearing was to determine whether Tavares, 41, could be counted on to stay in Massachusetts until his trial. Tavares had been telling prison mental health counselors for two years that he planned to relocate to Washington state to be with a woman he met through an online dating service. Tavares listed the woman's hometown, Graham, as his address on an official document in 2005 and, on the day he stood before Tuttman, his neck bore a tattoo of her name, Jennifer Lynn.
Nonetheless, the judge said she believed he would not flee and turned him loose. Three days later, Tavares went to T. F. Green Airport in Rhode Island and boarded a plane for Seattle.
Once State Police learned that he had flown to Washington, they sought permission to arrest him. But the Worcester district attorney's office again failed to respond. Prosecutors waited six weeks to answer a July 28 request for an arrest warrant from State Police, and then issued a warrant that applied only if Tavares returned to New England.
A Washington state trooper, acting on a request from Massachusetts police, sat in front of Tavares's trailer in an unmarked cruiser in early October. Lacking a warrant to arrest Tavares, the trooper drove away, possibly missing the last best chance to apprehend him before the slayings.
Tavares's release might have been avoided altogether if Paul F. Walsh Jr., then Bristol County district attorney, had not offered Tavares a plea bargain for the brutal 1991 slaying of his mother. Somerset police had a videotaped confession and another man was stabbed during the attack. But Tavares was allowed to plead guilty to manslaughter and serve 17 to 20 years, rather than face possible life in prison without parole for a murder conviction.
The lapses and leniencies are even more disconcerting considering a harsh reality of Massachusetts prisons: Inmates can be held in what is essentially solitary confinement for years, then released to the streets without so much as a social worker to see how they are adjusting. Tavares was kept alone in his cell for 23 hours a day from 1999 until just before his release, venturing outside only in leg shackles and handcuffs.
Tavares admitted to a Globe reporter in 2004 that he was a difficult prisoner, but blamed it on years of abuse. "How many times can you kick a dog before he bites back?" he asked.
Word never reached the people of Graham that a violent fugitive had taken up residence. Brian and Beverly Mauck, who planned to start a family in the house they had purchased in 2006, never mentioned their new neighbor to family members. Beverly's mother said she first heard the name Daniel Tavares when he was arrested in her daughter's murder.
"We know about the child molesters and the rapists, but what about the homicidal maniacs?" Karen Slater asked.
Ann Marie Tavares loved her wayward son. Friends and family told detectives investigating her murder that he should have been locked up long ago because of his volcanic temper. Tavares had done jail time for robbery, and he had gone to drug rehab to avoid more - only to be kicked out for stealing and abusing drugs.
But Ann Tavares, a laundromat manager, had raised Daniel and three older sisters alone after she and her husband split in 1968. She was protective of her troubled youngest, who suffered from bipolar disorder and anxiety attacks. As a friend told police, "He was Ann's baby," and she had invited him to live in her Somerset home.
Tavares claimed he was hearing voices when he stabbed her over and over again on the night of July 11, 1991, telling police that he "just started swinging" with a 12-inch knife after an evening of drinking and taking LSD. Police found 14 vials of psychiatric medications on the dresser in Tavares's bedroom.
Tavares's history of mental illness persuaded Walsh, the DA, to accept a guilty plea to manslaughter rather than pursue murder charges, prompting criticism recently from police involved in the investigation.
"To me, it was definitely homicide," said former Somerset police chief James M. Smith. "Certainly, when you stab someone 16 times, there's an intent there."
Walsh said later that he feared Tavares's psychological problems could suggest he did not understand what he was doing on the night of the killing. "We have to prove that he possessed a sound mind. . . . If we can't prove that, he's found not guilty," said Walsh in a recent interview, noting that Tavares got the strictest sentence possible for the lesser charge.
Others who know Tavares argue that mental illness does not explain his long pattern of violence and threats.
"Certain people in the world just have evil in them and I hate to say it but I think it was with him, pure evilness," said Daniel T. Tavares Sr., of Zephyr Hills, Fla.
Some suspect the truth may be worse than Tavares's rap sheet. In 2000, he contacted police to say that he could tell them where to find the body of 32-year-old Gayle Botelho, who he said had been killed by two acquaintances after "some wild party" in 1988. Investigators unearthed Botelho's skeletal remains in a makeshift grave behind the Fall River house Tavares had lived in at the time of her disappearance. Like Ann Tavares, Botelho had been stabbed to death.
Walsh said he believes Tavares did not kill her, but he did not prosecute the others because he did not want to rely on an admitted killer's testimony. "Your whole case is based on his words. That's a skinny case," he said.
Among prison guards, Tavares became known as a loud-mouthed malcontent who spat at guards passing his cell, tossed feces or urine at them, and made violent threats.
"He was what guys refer to as a cell warrior," said an officer who once worked at MCI-Cedar Junction and spoke on the condition of anonymity. "He was always making trouble from his cell."
Because of his behavior, prison officials repeatedly extended Tavares's prison term, taking away more than 1,000 days of "good time" that would have entitled him to earlier release. Tavares lived in Cedar Junction's Departmental Disciplinary Unit - a prison within a prison - for more than seven years, making him one of the isolation unit's longest-serving inmates
For years, he wrote threatening letters to public officials and family members from his cell, prompting a State Police investigation in 2006. "He threatened to kill me," said the elder Tavares. "He said he'd come down here when he got out and break all my ribs and maim me."
However, Tavares could not be charged with a crime, prosecutors said, because, as an inmate, he had no ability to carry out the threats. By the time Tavares came up for release, Worcester District Attorney John Conte had been replaced by Joseph D. Early Jr., who said he knew nothing of the threats.
By June 2005, Tavares had a new ally in Jennifer Lynn Freitas, who described herself as his fiancée and defended him in online chatrooms. From then on, Tavares told prison officials repeatedly about his desire to join Freitas.
Romance did not end the clashes with guards. Prison officials prefer to resolve misbehavior internally, but guards at Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley drew the line Dec. 1, 2005, when Tavares allegedly slammed a guard in the face with the cast on his left hand. Three months later, Tavares allegedly spit on another guard. For the incidents, he lost six months of "good time," but guards also asked the Worcester DA's office to file assault charges.
Prosecutors agreed, but the office did not file charges until a Walpole prison official, going through paperwork for Tavares's scheduled release on June 14, 2007, contacted Souza-Baranowski about the unresolved assaults. Prison officials filed the complaint, but the delay gave Tavares's lawyer ammunition to argue that prison officials were unfairly trying to extend Tavares's sentence again.
By July 16, the only thing that separated Tavares from freedom was raising the $100,000 bail he faced in the assault charges. His problem would be solved in a brief hearing barely noticed outside of Judge Tuttman's courtroom in Worcester. A transcript shows that Tavares's lawyer did 80 percent of the talking, while Assistant District Attorney William E. Loughlin made general remarks about Tavares's history of violence and suggested that he might leave the state. Tuttman quickly concluded that Tavares had done his time and released him.
Early defends his office's handling of Tavares's hearing, saying that a district court judge had previously agreed to hold Tavares on $100,000 bail pending his trial.
"We did our job," said Early. "We told the court he'd take off, and unfortunately he did."
Tavares walked out of Worcester Superior Court carrying about 40 pounds more than when he entered prison in 1991 and nearly as many new tattoos. But he was not rehabilitated: Tavares checked in with the probation department, as Tuttman required, just once. Then he fled.
On July 30, Tavares married Freitas at Defiance Point, a park outside Tacoma, and the couple moved into a camper-trailer on land owned by her brother and strewn with trailers and trucks. Less than 200 yards across a field was the neat house and two-car garage owned by the Maucks, an athletic couple who liked to ride their motorcycles and scuba dive.
Despite the freedom, Tavares's father said, his son was unchanged, calling the elder Tavares in November to blurt "I'm out" and hang up. On Nov. 16, the night before the slayings, Tavares Sr. said he got a call from a woman who did not identify herself. She said, "I'm just calling to let you know that Daniel is out, and he's on his way to come down there to get you."
That night, Daniel Tavares Sr. slept with his gun.
That same evening in Graham, Tavares was leaving a lasting impression at Ma and Pa's Roundup. "He was a real arrogant, vulgar guy," said Greenwood, who threw him out around 11 p.m. "He was drugged big time. His eyes were about to jump out of his head."
Sometime in the next few hours, Pierce County prosecutor Gerald T. Costello alleges, Tavares kicked in the front door of the Maucks' home, shot Brian Mauck in the face, then shot him twice more as he lay on the floor. Beverly Mauck tried to run, but she only made it to the front door before she was shot in the head, too. Tavares told police he then placed her body on top of Brian's and covered them with a blanket as a sign of respect.
Initially, Pierce County officials had no suspects, but then they got help from an unlikely source: Tavares and his new wife came to the sheriff's office in Tacoma on Nov. 18 to act as witnesses. "He was going to help us catch the bad guys," said Detective Ed Troyer.
Under questioning, Tavares's story that he had been awakened by shots unraveled. Soon, he admitted he had killed the couple - he and Jennifer Lynn had then gone to the park where they had been married to throw the murder weapon into Puget Sound. However, he gave shifting reasons for the attack, ranging from a disrespectful remark from Brian Mauck to a $50 tattoo debt he said Mauck owed him.
For Slater, the only consolation in the death of her daughter is the black eye Tavares apparently received during the attack: "I'm 99 percent sure Beverly gave him the black eye."
Troyer said Massachusetts officials have to do better than blaming one another for Tavares. "Everybody needs to take a little bit of responsibility," said Troyer. "If somebody were to say, 'Boy, we could have done a better job,' we'd have a lot more respect."
THE BOSTON GLOBE: "Candidate has another teary moment: Says he's not ashamed of having emotions", 12/19/2007
Mitt Romney's first noteworthy misty-eyed moment of the campaign came at the end of his nationally televised speech on faith and politics earlier this month in Texas. "God bless this great land, God bless the United States of America," he declared. (Ben Sklar/Getty Images)
After his eyes filled with tears for the third time in as many weeks on the presidential campaign trail, Mitt Romney explained that, no, he is not immune to sadness and grief.
The Boston Globe, Op-Ed - JOAN VENNOCHI
"Cry me a river, Mitt"
By Joan Vennochi, Globe Columnist, December 20, 2007
WHO'S CRYING now?
Mitt Romney teared up recently on NBC's "Meet the Press," as he recounted how he learned in 1978 that his Mormon Church would finally fully accept blacks. When he heard the news on the radio, he told host Tim Russert, he was so overcome with emotion he "pulled over and literally wept." Proving once again that Mitt's a different man in Massachusetts, Romney responded very differently when the same issue surfaced at home.
It came up during Romney's unsuccessful bid to unseat US Senator Edward M. Kennedy in 1994. Joseph P. Kennedy II, Kennedy's nephew and a congressman at the time, criticized the Mormon Church for its policy of racial exclusion. The Romney campaign angrily noted that the policy changed in 1978. Romney said he was greatly relieved, but said nothing about weeping for joy when he learned about it. During a press conference, Romney also accused Kennedy of betraying his brother John's victory in 1960 when JFK faced voter skepticism about his Catholic religion.
Mission accomplished: Joe Kennedy apologized, and Senator Kennedy backed off, too. Romney's Mormon faith was off the table, where it belongs. Romney never delved any deeper into his feelings about his church's past policy, saving a Bill Clinton moment for national TV and his presidential quest.
With a different campaign comes a different mission. Now, it's easy to imagine this urgent message emanating from Romney headquarters: "Pack up the PowerPoint, muss up your hair, and show voters the tracks of your tears. Competence is not a winning strategy. (See Michael Dukakis, 1988). Another man from Hope, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, is gaining traction as a warm and fuzzy religious zealot. It's sensitive guy time."
Romney first misted up publicly at the end of his nationally televised speech on faith and politics. Then came the session on "Meet the Press." The next day in New Hampshire his eyes welled again with tears when he told a stock campaign story about watching the casket of a US soldier killed in Iraq. This time, he added a line about imagining "what it would be like to lose a son in a situation like that." This is in stark contrast to a previous campaign moment, when Romney likened his sons' campaign service to military service; he later apologized for making the comparison.
Also in the humanizing department, a new Romney political ad recounts an episode when the candidate, then head of Bain Capital, shut down the company to lead the search for an employee's missing daughter. In the ad, the father of the runaway teenage girl who was ultimately found safe says, "Mitt's done a lot of things that people say are nearly impossible. But for me, the most important thing he's ever done is to help save my daughter."
On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton is also following a formula designed to warm up her image. She, too, is running ads that play up her softer side. So far, the Clinton strategy involves the candidate's mother, daughter, and girlfriends; public tears are not yet on display. Indeed, it's interesting to contemplate how the voting public would react if a female candidate who is often criticized for masking her emotion misted up on the campaign trail. It could be the ultimate disqualifier.
It's different for Romney. Real men can tear up, although uncontrollable sobbing might be a problem.
Romney ran for governor as a cool, take-charge businessman. As is often discussed, he embraced a moderate-to-liberal political agenda as the best strategy to sell himself to Bay State voters. Once in office, Romney wasted little time on emotion, or for that matter, on Massachusetts.
Much of what he did seemed calculated to make a splash on the national Republican stage. He was the governor who offered the hospitality of Massachusetts to Hurricane Katrina's displaced victims, but didn't have a heart for the underclass at home. Insincerity became an issue, as he tacked more and more dramatically to the right on abortion, immigration, and gay rights.
Insincerity is a killer on the campaign trail. Voters won't elect Eddie Haskell, the neighborhood operator who dripped with unctuous attitude on "Leave it to Beaver," the iconic sitcom of the 1950s. As a presidential candidate, Romney has two challenges - to prove he's not a robot, or a phony.
When voters see him cry, they should turn their Mitt detector way up high.
Joan Vennochi's e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
"WILLARD Mitt Romney dismisses photo taken at fund-raiser, says he is firmly antiabortion", THE BOSTON GLOBE, 12/19/2007
Mitt Romney dismissed this photo, which shows him at a fund-raiser for Planned Parenthood in Cohasset in June 1994. The photo was sent yesterday to several news organizations.
"Romney utilized offshore tax havens to help investors: Practice called 'perfectly legal'"
By Bob Drogin, Los Angeles Times, December 19, 2007
While in private business, Mitt Romney used shell companies in two offshore tax havens to help eligible investors avoid paying US taxes, federal and state records show.
Romney gained no personal tax benefit from the legal operations in Bermuda and the Cayman Islands. But aides of the Republican presidential hopeful and former colleagues acknowledged that the tax-friendly jurisdictions helped attract billions of additional investment dollars to Romney's former company, Bain Capital, and thus boosted profits for Romney and his partners.
Romney has based his White House bid, in part, on the skills he learned as cofounder and chief of Bain Capital, one of the nation's most successful private equity groups. His campaign cites his record while governor of Massachusetts of closing state tax loopholes; his involvement with foreign tax havens had not come to light before.
In the Cayman Islands, Romney was listed as a general partner and personally invested in BCIP Associates III Cayman, a private equity fund that is registered at a post office box on Grand Cayman Island and that indirectly buys equity in US companies. The arrangement shields foreign investors from US taxes they would pay for investing directly in US companies.
Romney still retains an investment in the Cayman fund through a trust. Campaign disclosure forms show the investment paid him more than $1 million last year in dividends, interest, and capital gains.
In Bermuda, Romney served as president and sole shareholder for four years of Sankaty High Yield Asset Investors Ltd. It funneled money into Bain Capital's Sankaty family of hedge funds, which invest in bonds and other debt issued by corporations, as well as bank loans.
Like thousands of similar financial entities, Sankaty maintains no office or staff in Bermuda. Its only presence consists of a nameplate at a lawyer's office in downtown Hamilton, capital of the British island territory.
"It's just a mail drop, essentially," said Marc B. Wolpow, who worked with Romney for nine years at Bain Capital and who set up Sankaty Ltd. in October 1997 without ever visiting Bermuda. "There's no one doing any work down there other than lawyers."
Investing through what's known as a blocker corporation in Bermuda protects tax-exempt American institutions, such as pension plans, hospitals, and university endowments, from paying a 35 percent tax on what the Internal Revenue Service calls "unrelated business income" from domestic hedge funds that invest in debt, specialists say.
Kevin Madden, Romney's campaign spokesman, said there was nothing improper about the Bermuda arrangement or in Romney's investment in the Cayman fund. In neither case, Madden said, did Romney gain the ability to defer or avoid paying US taxes.
"I would disagree that these could be described as tax loopholes," he said. "These are perfectly normal and perfectly legal arrangements that American companies put together to be successful in the market."
Romney first purchased a 3.25 percent share of the Cayman fund and was listed as a "general partner (passive)" before his retirement from Bain Capital in late 2001, records show. He put his financial assets into a blind trust in January 2003, when he took office as governor of Massachusetts.
Brad Malt, who controls Romney's financial trust, said Bain Capital organized the Cayman fund to attract money from foreign institutional investors.
"This is not Mitt trying to do something strange," he said. "This is Bain trying to raise some number of billions from investors around the world."
The privately held Cayman fund does not disclose its total investment pool. But Securities and Exchange Commission records show it has invested through a Delaware partnership in a California-based network of healthcare centers, a Texas real estate group, a New Jersey phosphate manufacturer, and numerous other companies.
Romney is the wealthiest candidate running for president, with a personal fortune of as much as $250 million, according to financial disclosure forms he filed in August. His financial trust retains investments in at least 32 Bain and Sankaty equity, hedge, and debt funds, among other assets, the documents disclosed.
Under his retirement agreement, Romney retains a share of the profits at Bain Capital, as well as the right to make new investments in Bain funds through his trust, until February 2009.
Malt said he repeatedly had increased Romney's stake in the Cayman fund since 2003. He said he was unaware of the specific figures, but added that he knew he "wrote a lot of checks" and that it pays a return of 20 percent to 30 percent a year.
"Romney should not be the next president"
The Concord Monitor - Editorial
If you were building a Republican presidential candidate from a kit, imagine what pieces you might use: an athletic build, ramrod posture, Reaganesque hair, a charismatic speaking style and a crisp dark suit. You'd add a beautiful wife and family, a wildly successful business career and just enough executive government experience. You'd pour in some old GOP bromides - spending cuts and lower taxes - plus some new positions for 2008: anti-immigrant rhetoric and a focus on faith.
Add it all up and you get Mitt Romney, a disquieting figure who sure looks like the next president and most surely must be stopped.
Romney's main business experience is as a management consultant, a field in which smart, fast-moving specialists often advise corporations on how to reinvent themselves. His memoir is called Turnaround - the story of his successful rescue of the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City - but the most stunning turnaround he has engineered is his own political career.
If you followed only his tenure as governor of Massachusetts, you might imagine Romney as a pragmatic moderate with liberal positions on numerous social issues and an ability to work well with Democrats. If you followed only his campaign for president, you'd swear he was a red-meat conservative, pandering to the religious right, whatever the cost. Pay attention to both, and you're left to wonder if there's anything at all at his core.
As a candidate for the U.S. Senate in 1994, he boasted that he would be a stronger advocate of gay rights than his opponent, Ted Kennedy. These days, he makes a point of his opposition to gay marriage and adoption.
There was a time that he said he wanted to make contraception more available - and a time that he vetoed a bill to sell it over-the-counter.
The old Romney assured voters he was pro-choice on abortion. "You will not see me wavering on that," he said in 1994, and he cited the tragedy of a relative's botched illegal abortion as the reason to keep abortions safe and legal. These days, he describes himself as pro-life.
There was a time that he supported stem-cell research and cited his own wife's multiple sclerosis in explaining his thinking; such research, he reasoned, could help families like his. These days, he largely opposes it. As a candidate for governor, Romney dismissed an anti-tax pledge as a gimmick. In this race, he was the first to sign.
People can change, and intransigence is not necessarily a virtue. But Romney has yet to explain this particular set of turnarounds in a way that convinces voters they are based on anything other than his own ambition.
In the 2008 campaign for president, there are numerous issues on which Romney has no record, and so voters must take him at his word. On these issues, those words are often chilling. While other candidates of both parties speak of restoring America's moral leadership in the world, Romney has said he'd like to "double" the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, where inmates have been held for years without formal charge or access to the courts. He dodges the issue of torture - unable to say, simply, that waterboarding is torture and America won't do it.
When New Hampshire partisans are asked to defend the state's first-in-the-nation primary, we talk about our ability to see the candidates up close, ask tough questions and see through the baloney. If a candidate is a phony, we assure ourselves and the rest of the world, we'll know it.
Mitt Romney is such a candidate. New Hampshire Republicans and independents must vote no.
THE BOSTON GLOBE: EDITORIAL: "Short Fuse", December 24, 2007
"Romney: Seesawing on what he saw"
Just as one of the lower moments in Bill Clinton's presidency was his assertion that "it depends what 'is' is," Mitt Romney only hurts himself when he fails to see that "I saw" generally means spotting something with one's own eyes. "I saw my father march with Martin Luther King," he declared earlier this month in a much-anticipated speech on faith in public life. As governor of Michigan, George Romney had an honorable record on civil rights. But as the Boston Phoenix recently reported, George Romney almost certainly never marched with King. Pressed by a CBS reporter, Mitt Romney said he meant "saw" as a figure of speech. A candidate's views on political issues can change over time, as Romney well knows. As for events, either they happened before one's eyes, or they didn't.
"Romney officials approved clinic loan: Worcester facility to provide abortions"
By Frank Phillips, (Boston) Globe Staff, December 29, 2007
Former governor Mitt Romney's economic development agency granted initial approval to a tax-exempt bond last year for a Planned Parenthood clinic in Worcester that will provide abortions, just two months before he left office and began highlighting his antiabortion position as a presidential candidate.
Asked about the $5 million financial deal yesterday, the Romney campaign said the former governor was not aware it was under consideration when Planned Parenthood won preliminary approval in November 2006.
Romney repeatedly used the power of his office while governor to advance socially conservative positions, including restricting stem cell research, pushing abstinence-only sex education in schools, and vetoing a bill to increase access to emergency contraception in hospitals.
In the case of the abortion clinic funding deal, the Republican candidate's spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom said Romney would have attempted to block it - if he had known about it.
"Mitt Romney is prolife," Fehrnstrom said. "He did not know about this loan. It was made by an agency that does not report to the governor. If it did, he would have told them not to do it."
In additon to providing abortion services, the 10,000-square-foot Planned Parenthood clinic planned for Worcester will offer Plan B emergency contraception, also known as the "morning after pill," which also is opposed by antiabortion advocates.
Jeffrey M. Berry, a political science professor at Tufts University, said he was surprised that Romney and his aides did not catch such a politically sensitive financial deal making its way through his economic development agency. Now, Berry said, the campaign will be put in the position of defending Romney at a time when he is heading into the most critical days of his candidacy.
"It is unusual that his people at the agency did not find a reason not to fund Planned Parenthood," Berry said. "His administration was clearly focused on his run for the presidency and making sure there was no embarrassment like this. It was an administration that was pretty efficient getting everyone operating on the same page and avoiding scandal."
While Romney's campaign said the agency that authorized the deal, MassDevelopment, is an autonomous authority, it was controlled by Romney appointees. Several of its 11-member board were top officials in the Romney administration, including Ranch Kimball, the chairman who was also Romney's secretary of economic development. Other members included another representative from Kimball's office and an official from the Executive Office of Administration and Finance.
In a statement to the Globe, Kimball said that it was his policy not to brief the governor's office on initial approval of loans.
"I did not brief the Governor's office on these initial reviews," he said.
The Nov. 8, 2006 vote by MassDevelopment to grant initial approval of the $5 million tax-exempt bond laid the groundwork for Planned Parenthood to begin planning the center and prepare for the loan closing.
Final approval came at the board's Feb. 8 meeting, a month after Romney left office. Democratic Governor Deval L. Patrick, an abortion rights supporter, signed off a few weeks later.
Romney's dealings with Planned Parenthood have been a source of controversy on the campaign trail. In 1994 as a candidate for the US Senate and again in 2002 as a candidate for governor, Romney declared himself squarely behind Planned Parenthood's missions: to provide abortions, increase access to emergency contraception, and to back comprehensive sex education in the schools that included both abstinence and contraception. He and his wife, Ann, attended a Planned Parenthood fund-raiser in Cohasett and Ann donated $150 to the group.
But once he began laying the groundwork for his presidential campaign, Romney dramatically shifted his positions on the issues, moves that were aimed at making him more palatable to the socially conservative Republican presidential primary voters. In 2005, he said he opposed research on embryonic stem cells and then said that discussions about stem cells had led him to oppose abortion.
Later that year, he vetoed a bill that increased access to emergency contraception, which mandated that hospitals make the pill available to rape victims. That veto was overridden by the Legislature. In 2006, he directed that federal sex education funds be used to pay for abstinence-only programs in public schools. The money had been originally used to pay for an abstinence media campaign.
Romney's shift in positions was highlighted yesterday by Planned Parenthood in a new website attacking the GOP candidate.
"This was more than just a flip-flop, this was an extreme makeover," said Angus McQuilken, a spokesman for a Planned Parenthood advocacy arm. "We feel an obligation to let America know who the real Mitt Romney is - a candidate who will say anything to get elected."
Fehrnstrom dismissed the criticism, saying such attacks on Romney are expected from abortion rights advocates.
"It's not surprising that abortion advocates are opposed to him," he said. "Every action Mitt Romney took on legislation sent to him as governor he came down on the side of protecting life. As president, he will continue to protect the sanctity of life."
"Mitt miss on loan oversight: Froze hiring of mortgage regulators in Mass."
By Scott Van Voorhis, Wednesday, January 2, 2008, bostonherald.com, Business & Markets
Former Gov. Mitt Romney, who has tirelessly touted his Massachusetts track record, stopped hiring mortgage regulators just as the number of subprime lenders in the state exploded.
The Romney administration in 2004 froze the number of employees at the state’s Division of Banks, which is responsible for inspecting and licensing mortgage companies, records show.
That year, the number of lenders in Massachusetts pushing risky subprime mortgages began to grow rapidly, swelling by more than 50 percent to 1,409 last year. Such high-interest rate loans, which target borrowers with poor credit, have been blamed for the surge in foreclosure filings in Massachusetts and elsewhere.
The freeze left the state’s Division of Banks with too few employees to do basic inspections, let alone more in-depth investigative work that might have uncovered problems early on, critics say.
“It didn’t seem like a priority to the (Romney) administration at all to staff up the Divison of Banks,” said Thomas Callahan, head of the Massachusetts Affordable Housing Alliance.
“It was a lost opportunity,” he said.
The numbers tell the story.
The Division of Banks, at the end of 2004 when the hiring freeze went into effect, had 155 employees. The division did 287 exams that year.
The number of state bank regulators dropped to 148 the next year, bouncing back to 150 in 2006. The number of exams dropped to 247 in 2005, before rising to 420 in 2006.
Meanwhile, the number of home lenders licensed to do business in the state, skyrocketed during this period, from roughly 900 to 1,409.
And the increase in the number of lenders, many of them subprime mortgage outfits, was accompanied by a major shift in lending tactics.
After focusing for years on refinance loans, subprime lenders began to aggressively move into direct, first-time mortgages starting roughly in 2003, Callahan said.
By the time the subprime market began to melt down last year amid skyrocketing foreclosures, subprime loans accounted for 20 percent or more of all mortgages in some neighborhoods, Callahan said.
Such subprime loans, on average, cost homeowners $704 more a month on their mortgages than conventional loans, said James Campen, a University of Massachusetts at Boston researcher, in an interview last year.
“This is a formula for bringing about foreclosures and delinquencies,” he said.
A spokesman for Romney argued that hiring more mortgage regulators would not have made an impact.
“The subprime mortgage crisis was a national phenomenon, affecting every state and region of the country. Hiring some extra bank examiners in Massachusetts would not have prevented its occurrence,” said spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom, in a statement.
And Gov. Deval Patrick has also been faulted.
State Auditor Joe DeNucci recently released a report showing only 16 percent of all mortgage companies were reviewed during the first nine months of 2007. Administration officials have argued these numbers failed to account for a wide range of disciplinary actions taken against lenders over the past year.
Patrick since then has signed into law a bill providing money for the hiring of 50 additional state mortgage regulators.
“It’s been long known for the last 15 years the Division of Banks has been underresourced,” MAHA’s Callahan said. “They do not have the adequate staffing levels to do the job they have been asked to do.”
Article URL: http://www.bostonherald.com/business/general/view.bg?articleid=1064037
ROUND TWO: NEW HAMPSHIRE
"Lower-earning voters reshaping GOP base"
By Peter S. Canellos, (Boston) Globe Staff, January 5, 2008
CONCORD, N.H. - They were called Reagan Democrats and then "values voters." They were the police and firefighters President Bush credited with his 2004 reelection. And in this week's Iowa caucuses, they were the dominant constituency in the Republican Party.
For decades, Republicans sought to reach beyond their traditional base of business-oriented, upper-income voters by wooing blue-collar voters through social issues and appeals to patriotism. But Thursday in Iowa, working-class Republicans flexed their muscles, sending former governor Mike Huckabee of Arkansas to a clear victory over businessman Mitt Romney - and leaving some upper-income conservatives to wonder whether they are in control of their party anymore.
Like Romney, Huckabee emphasizes faith and family values, but he also focuses more on the need for government to help lower-income Americans than on the traditional Republican antitax message, which concerns mainstream Republicans. "I'd like to know what his economic message is - he throws out phrases suggesting he's against free trade and supports more government regulation. Those are not views that most Republicans share," said Frank Donatelli, the former White House political director under President Reagan, who this year is supporting Senator John McCain of Arizona.
But the demographic dynamic between the parties has changed since the Reagan years. As more lower-income voters have joined the traditional Republican Party of business, Democrats have gotten richer: A Pew Research Center survey of prospective presidential matchups earlier this year showed voters earning more than $100,000 a year about evenly split between the parties.
Perhaps as a result, some Democrats have adopted traditional GOP themes like fiscal restraint, while Republicans such as Huckabee advocate a larger government role in healthcare and education. And, like many Democrats, Huckabee accuses his primary opponents of being too friendly to the rich.
"In looking for a presidential candidate, people want someone who looks more like the guy they work with than the guy who laid them off," Huckabee quipped, referring to Romney, a former business consultant who earned his fortune in part by making companies more efficient.
In past Republican eras, that line wouldn't have won many votes; but this year in Iowa, with its relatively large population of Christian conservatives and working-class Republicans, it went over well. "Since the late '80s and early '90s, white evangelicals have grown as a Republican constituency, and its brought more lower-income voters into the Republican Party," said Andrew Kohut, director of the Pew Research Center. "What's becoming clear now is the divide between social and economic conservatives."
Kohut described Huckabee's voters as "big-government conservatives." And the party's success in broadening its base to include them may now threaten its unity around a small-government message. Surveys of voters entering Thursday's caucuses indicate that Huckabee drew disproportionate support from voters on the lower economic rungs. He beat Romney by 16 points among people earning less than $50,000 per year. He edged Romney by just four points among those earning more than $50,000.
Since party identification keeps shifting, its unclear whether there are enough "big government" Republicans to give Huckabee the nomination. But the clout of working-class voters in the GOP has expanded.
In the '80s and '90s, Republicans were often accused of using "wedge issues" like crime and abortion to persuade working-class people to vote against their economic interests, which would have been a far bigger priority of the Democrats. But throughout George W. Bush's presidency, lower-income voters have become more Republican, and have played a greater role in shaping the GOP agenda.
Many working-class voters supported the war on terrorism, and Bush, himself a product of Yale and Harvard Business School, acknowledged his debt to them.
"This election was not won by country club Republicans," he told his political aides in November 2004, according to an account by journalist Bob Woodward. "I don't know if they exist. There are only country club Democrats. This election was won by people who carry lunch pails to work. I think that if it had just been policemen and firemen voting in this election, I would have the most - you know 90 percent of the vote."
But in Bush's second term, working-class conservatives, including many from the Christian right, expressed growing opposition to the administration's priorities. And Bush's efforts to appease both social and economic conservatives tore at the fabric of the party.
When Bush launched his ambitious campaign to privatize Social Security, Christian conservatives expressed dismay, saying their members couldn't support such a scheme. But when Bush answered requests from Christian conservatives to intervene in the case of Terri Schiavo, the brain-damaged woman whose husband wanted her removed from life support, many GOP economic conservatives were dismayed.
Such economic conservatives also blamed social conservatives for increased government spending on Medicare, education, and other traditionally liberal priorities under Bush and the recent GOP-led Congress.
"The way the Republican Party's going, [Huckabee's rise] is not a surprise," said Shane Cory, executive director of the Libertarian Party, which sees itself as a prod to Republicans to maintain economically conservative policies. "People can't see past his pastoral charm to realize he's a big-government liberal. He sees big government as a fix for everything."
"If that's what Republican voters get stuck with, it's their own fault," Cory added. "It's an unfortunate situation."
In fact, Huckabee does not define himself as a supporter of a large role for government programs. But he has called for a greater government role in promoting health and fitness, and for government action to block job losses caused by free-trade agreements. He has also refused to apologize for tax increases during his tenure as governor of Arkansas, saying they were supported by voters. And he has chided some fellow Republicans who have praised the health of the economy, suggesting they are out of touch with the struggles of lower-income people.
David Carney, a former White House political director in the first Bush administration who is now a New Hampshire political consultant, said Huckabee's Iowa victory was a wake-up call to the GOP's Washington establishment, suggesting it needs to be more responsive to average voters.
"The Republican establishment has to wake up and smell the coffee and realize that voters are not bound by the rules of hierarchy and won't go for the person that all the bigshots are for or where all the money is," Carney said.
After watching Huckabee speak yesterday at a rally in Henniker, N.H., Lloyd Wiley, a retired police officer from Bedford and self-described Republican and Christian, said he found himself "very inspired."
Huckabee's focus on policies that would help less affluent Americans improve their lives, he said, "is the part that the Republicans have been missing. It's not all about big money and big corporations - though we need them - but it's about the people."
Charlie Savage of the Globe staff contributed to this report.
THE BOSTON GLOBE: Op-Ed
By Joan Vennochi, (Boston) Globe Columnist, January 9, 2008
THE SIGNS were the sign of what was to come for Mitt Romney in New Hampshire.
Twenty-four hours before New Hampshire voted, most of the signs in the heart of Wolfeboro, N.H., carried the name of John McCain, not of Mitt Romney - even though Romney owns a lavish home in this quaint resort community.
Perhaps Romney's neighbors still harbored resentment from the days when he was first elected governor of Massachusetts and put up a security perimeter around his lakefront property. The community disliked the notion of an imperial governor and the local police asked him to take it down.
Or, perhaps they just didn't like the kind of presidential campaign Romney ran in their state.
Yesterday, Romney lost the New Hampshire Republican primary to John McCain. This defeat is a more serious blow than last week's second-place finish in Iowa; his own neighbors essentially rejected his bid to become the Republican presidential nominee.
The signs in New Hampshire pointed away from Romney and toward McCain for awhile. In December, The Concord Monitor published an extraordinary editorial, which stated, "If a candidate is a phony, we assure ourselves and the rest of the world, we'll know it. Mitt Romney is such a candidate. New Hampshire Republicans and Independents must vote no." The Romney campaign dismissed it as the wacky opinion of a liberal editorial board. But a deluge of New Hampshire newspapers, including the conservative Union Leader, backed McCain.
Romney's calculated transformation from moderate gubernatorial candidate to ultra-conservative presidential candidate hurt him with New Hampshire voters. He spent millions of dollars attacking McCain for his support of immigration reform, but that negative onslaught backfired, too. Finally, Romney tried to sell himself as the candidate of change, but he had changed so much already, that was hardly a boost for his campaign.
"We thought we knew New Hampshire . . . but now we really know New Hampshire," Romney said during last night's concession speech.
It turns out that New Hampshire knew Romney better than he knew New Hampshire, and voters didn't like what they knew.
Joan Vennochi's e-mail address is email@example.com.
"Romney singing new tune, sweeter to Detroit's ears: In Mass., pushed air quality"
By Michael Levenson and Robert Gavin, (Boston) Globe Staff, January 15, 2008
DETROIT - On the eve of today's potentially make-or-break primary in Michigan, Mitt Romney campaigned yesterday as the savior of the auto industry, trying to convince voters that he is the Republican presidential hopeful best equipped to turn around the state's battered economy.
In a speech to business leaders and at an international auto show, he was especially critical of new fuel efficiency standards signed into law last month by President Bush. "Instead of throwing over a life preserver, Washington has dropped yet another anvil on Michigan," Romney told the Detroit Economic Club. "And now it's passively sitting back to see if car companies can swim, and the answer is: just barely."
But as governor, Romney imposed tough emissions standards in December 2005 that added Massachusetts to a growing list of states seeking to force the auto industry to produce cleaner-burning cars - which automakers considered a back-door attempt to raise fuel standards. Under the rules, cars sold in the state after 2015 must emit 30 percent less carbon dioxide, 20 percent fewer toxic pollutants, and as much as 20 percent fewer smog- causing pollutants than under federal standards.
Seth Kaplan, vice president at the Conservation Law Foundation, a Boston environmental group, said the standards were tougher on automakers than the federal standards Romney is now decrying in Michigan.
"The positions are inconsistent, to put it mildly," Kaplan said yesterday. He added that rather than bemoan the rules as a burden on business, Romney officials had praised them as a "significant step in cleaning our air."
Romney noted yesterday that state law required him to follow California's lead on auto emissions and he also "felt that that was the right thing to do for Massachusetts."
Romney was also criticized yesterday for an auto tax proposal he made while running for governor in 2002. At the time, Romney said, he wanted to lower excise taxes for fuel-efficient vehicles, but rival John McCain's campaign said yesterday that because the plan was designed to be revenue neutral, that would have resulted in higher taxes on sport utility vehicles.
The excise tax plan, which was never adopted, "would have hurt the same American auto industry in Michigan that he now claims to champion," said Jane M. Swift, the former acting governor of Massachusetts who is backing McCain.
Another central point that Romney has made in Michigan is that he would use his business acumen to create jobs. Yet during his four-year term as Massachusetts governor, which began in the depths of a recession, the number of jobs grew by just 0.5 percent, compared with 5.5 percent nationally, according to Labor Department statistics. Only three states did worse: Ohio, Louisiana, and Michigan.
Manufacturing employment in Massachusetts slid 12 percent, more than double the national average; the state fared only slightly better than Michigan, which lost more than 15 percent of manufacturing jobs during that period.
Eric Fehrnstrom, a campaign spokesman, defended Romney's record.
"It is an indisputable fact that when Mitt Romney took office, Massachusetts was losing thousands of jobs every month and the state was facing a fiscal crisis," Fehrnstrom said. "Four years later, the state budget was balanced, the economy was adding jobs, and Wall Street responded with a credit rating upgrade."
In campaign appearances and speeches leading up to today's vote, Romney, McCain, and Mike Huckabee have focused on Michigan's economic woes, which have led to the nation's highest unemployment rate, 7.4 percent in November.
In yesterday's address to the Detroit Economic Club, whose main sponsors include the three major US automakers, Romney pledged to make the auto industry's revival a centerpiece of his administration.
"I will roll up my sleeves in the first 100 days I'm in office, and I will personally bring together industry, labor, congressional, and state leaders and together we will develop a plan to rebuild America's automotive leadership," he said to applause.
He also pledged to increase from $4 billion to $20 billion federal spending on energy research, fuel technology, materials science, and automotive technology. Romney said there is "no one silver bullet," but said he is the only candidate with the business experience to revive Michigan's economy.
"Washington politicians look at Michigan and they see a rust belt," Romney said. "But the real rust is in Washington. The pessimist will point to an empty factory and a laid-off worker and say they have no future. Instead, I see a vital infrastructure, a skilled workforce, and an innovative spirit, all worthy of an optimistic vision."
Polls suggest Romney is in a close race with McCain, who beat him last week in New Hampshire, with Huckabee, who bested him in Iowa, in third place. A Reuters/C-SPAN/Zogby tracking poll released yesterday gave McCain a narrow edge over Romney, 27 percent to 24 percent, which is within the poll's margin of error of plus or minus 3.3 percentage points.
Romney has been drawing larger, more enthusiastic crowds in the final days and also appeared last night on CNN's "Larry King Live" and ABC's "Nightline." "I do believe that overall I'm going to win, and one thing's for sure, I'm not going to stop at the end of Michigan," he told reporters. "Win or lose, I'm going on to South Carolina and Nevada and all the way through Feb. 5 and hopefully beyond."
McCain, who won the Michigan primary in 2000, has also been campaigning vigorously in the state. But unlike Romney, who has pledged to fight for every lost job, he has said some jobs cannot be brought back and that as president he would revamp training programs for laid-off workers.
"We're not going to leave these people behind," McCain told more than 1,000 people at Kalamazoo Christian High School yesterday. "That's what America is supposed to be all about."
Huckabee, meanwhile, said he is the only candidate who understands the struggles of working-class families.
"If you want somebody who believes the status quo is just fine, you have plenty of choices," he told about 100 people at a rally yesterday in Augusta.
All three candidates toured the North American International Auto Show yesterday afternoon, passing within yards and minutes of one another as they were mobbed by TV news crews. Unlike Iowa and New Hampshire, where the leading Republicans ripped one another in TV ads and speeches, in Michigan they have focused on accentuating their job growth plans and records.
Romney's economic record as governor is mixed at best, according to economists and business officials. They credit Romney with stabilizing the state's budget, streamlining regulations, and reforming healthcare, but say that he soon became distracted, first by his ultimately unsuccessful effort to unseat Democrats in the Legislature and later by his national ambitions.
Brian Gilmore, spokesman for Associated Industries of Massachusetts, said Romney's early focus on luring big companies to Massachusetts revealed a misunderstanding of a state economy driven by small, homegrown firms.
"Traditionally, the growth in Massachusetts is internal," said Gilmore. "They grow here because of the workforce, the universities, and the availability of venture capital, and I don't know if he did anything to enhance them."
"Mitt Romney as governor did some things well," said Paul Guzzi, president of the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce. "But as far as creating jobs to drive the economy, there was disappointment.
"He probably didn't meet the expectations of the employer community."
Material from the Associated Press was included in this report. Michael Levenson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org; Robert Gavin at email@example.com.
THE BOSTON GLOBE - NEWS ANALYSIS
"Candidates abandoning small-government ideology"
By Peter S. Canellos, Globe Staff, January 16, 2008
WASHINGTON - For most of the past year, almost every Republican presidential contender tried to present himself as the real Reagan conservative, without questioning whether Ronald Reagan's antigovernment message was applicable in 2008.
Now, after voting in three high-profile states, it seems that many GOP candidates might have miscalculated: Republican voters may still love Reagan, but his antigovernment message isn't playing well on the campaign trail. Iowans chose Mike Huckabee, who promised an administration that would do more for low- and middle-income people. New Hampshire chose John McCain, who promised a small government but one committed to activism against problems such as global warming.
Mitt Romney initially pledged his total fidelity to Reagan's "three-legged stool" of strong defense, low taxes, and a "pro-life" social agenda. But after losing two states and much of his credibility, he shifted gears in auto-crazed Michigan, promising government action to combat the loss of manufacturing jobs.
Romney's win in yesterday's Michigan primary leaves the fight for the party's presidential nomination as wide-open as ever, and the party's constituencies wrangling for advantage.
"Each candidate manages to strike a different chord in a different state, but there is no melody," said Linda L. Fowler, a political scientist at Dartmouth College.
But if one thing is clear, it's that the early-voting states have sent a clear signal in favor of activism over ideology, suggesting that the traditional Republican anti-tax, anti-spending message might not satisfy even some conservatives in a time of economic unease.
"I don't think specifically that an antigovernment message works," said David Carney, former White House political director under George H. W. Bush and an unaligned GOP consultant. "People aren't opposed to spending money on things like education. They're opposed to spending money on the bridge to nowhere."
Carney pointed to numerous recent state ballot initiatives in which voters, including Republicans, approved higher taxes for priorities like schools and hospitals.
"Our party is most successful when it talks about Main Street values and supporting small businesses and helping working people," Carney said.
But many Republican opinion leaders - including much of the conservative media - trace the decline of President Bush's administration to his support of the costly new Medicare drug benefit. That and other deviations from conservative orthodoxy - such as Bush's "No Child Left Behind" bill, which took some control of schools away from parents - have been cast by many traditional conservatives as undermining the GOP's small-government message.
Bush's political guru, Karl Rove, sensed a shift in appetite and warned his fellow Republicans that the country wanted more action on healthcare and education and that they could not afford to cede those priorities to the Democrats.
The returns from the presidential race suggest that Rove, who left the White House last year, might have been right. While Huckabee owes much of his surprising Iowa victory to his credibility on social issues, he has also repeatedly scolded fellow Republicans, alleging they are ignoring lower- and middle-class people. Huckabee carried that message to Michigan and South Carolina, where he is the leader in some polls.
Last weekend, he addressed the issue of education: "The upper classes don't have to worry about it, and the people at the bottom have all kinds of financial aid. But the real challenge is to make higher education available to the people in the middle."
Romney went further in advocating for government action on the economy, declaring to Detroit business leaders Monday, "If I'm president of this country, I will roll up my sleeves in the first 100 days I'm in office, and I will personally bring together industry, labor, congressional and state leaders, and together we will develop a plan to rebuild America's automotive leadership."
"I am not open to a bailout, but I am open to a workout. Washington should not be a benefactor, but it can and must be a partner."
Romney's vision of government as a partner of industry is a far cry from Reagan's portrayal of government as "the problem" - the regulator whose interference hampers business growth. As president, Reagan decried "industrial policy," in which the government would invest as a partner in certain industries, comparing it to socialist economic planning.
Earlier in this campaign, after Romney declared Reagan to be his role model, the former Massachusetts governor consistently called for slashing corporate taxes and decried socialized medicine - while comparing Democratic economic policies to European-style socialism.
The goal was to establish his credibility as a Reagan-style conservative, but as the campaign progressed and the pitch failed to resonate, he moved away from it. Last night, he mentioned Reagan again, along with George H.W. Bush, as two of his inspirations.
But it might not make a difference. Voters seem far warmer to the new vision of Romney as a creative businessman who wants to use the powers of the presidency to "fix" American industry.
That vision runs counter to Romney's gubernatorial record in ways, but it connects to his very real success in building a lucrative business and turning around the 2002 Winter Olympics.
"His main appeal was as a can-do businessman, but he didn't campaign that way for most of the [past] year," said Fowler. "I think for him to talk about the economy plays to his strength."
Mitt Romney and reporter Glen Johnson (right) faced off during a campaign stop in South Carolina yesterday. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)
"Romney gets testy over issue of lobbyists in his campaign"
By Michael Levenson, (Boston) Globe Staff, January 18, 2008
COLUMBIA, S.C. - Mitt Romney had an unusually testy face-off with a reporter yesterday over the role of lobbyists in his presidential campaign.
When Romney repeated, "I don't have lobbyists running my campaign," Glen Johnson of the Associated Press challenged him, saying: "That is not true. Ron Kaufman is a lobbyist."
Romney responded: "Did you hear what I said? Did you hear what I said, Glen? I said I don't have lobbyists running my campaign, and he's not running my campaign."
Johnson didn't relent, saying after some more back-and-forth, "So Ron's just there, window dressing; he's a potted plant."
Romney shot back: "Glen, I appreciate that you think that's funny, but Ron Kaufman is not even in on the senior strategy meetings of our campaign."
The two then debated whether debate preparation sessions count as senior strategy meetings.
Romney said: "Let me go back and complete the point I was making. My campaign is not based on Washington lobbyists. I haven't been in Washington. I don't have lobbyists at my elbows that are arguing for one industry or another industry. And I do not have favors I have to repay to people who have been in Washington for years, nor scores I have to settle."
After the news conference was ended, Romney confronted Johnson again and told him: "Listen to my words, all right? Listen to my words."
The exchange, in the middle of a Staples office supply store, was shown on television newscasts yesterday. Johnson, a former Globe reporter, reported that Romney later invited him to the front of his campaign plane so Romney could outline the campaign's organizational chart.
The AP story that Johnson filed yesterday afternoon said that Washington insiders are on Romney's senior staff and registered lobbyists are top advisers. Kaufman, chairman of the Washington-based Dutko Worldwide, regularly sits across the aisle from Romney on his campaign plane and participates in debate strategy sessions, the story said.
The Globe has reported that in preparing his presidential bid, Romney courted Republican power brokers inside the Beltway. He had a fund-raiser with lobbyists on Capitol Hill and a strategy session at a Washington lobbying firm.
Still, Romney spokesman Kevin Madden made the distinction that while Kaufman is a Republican National Committee member and a friend of Romney's, he is not paid by the campaign.
"Romney leading Mass. money race"
By Matt Murphy, Berkshire Eagle Boston Bureau
Saturday, February 02, 2008
BOSTON — Former Gov. Mitt Romney, despite having his share of detractors in the state, has raised more money in Massachusetts to date than any of his fellow contenders for the White House.
Romney, a one-term governor whose candidacy for the presidency has divided the state's GOP establishment, raked in $3.99 million in his home state, more than former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Sens. John McCain, Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama.
Berkshire County voters, however, have not been swayed by Romney to open their checkbooks for his campaign, pumping only $3,825 into the former governor's campaign account. Instead, it was Obama who felt the love in far Western Massachusetts, collecting a total of $50,474 in contributions from North Adams to Sheffield.
Berkshire County voters, in total, gave about $111,991 to the five front-running candidates from both parties, with Williamstown followed by Pittsfield, Great Barrington and Lenox leading the way.
Pittsfield accounted for all of Romney's fundraising.
All of the fundraising totals are based on the latest campaign finance filings with the Federal Election Commission, required at the end of every month in 2008 for presidential candidates.
"Barack Obama has run a campaign by building a coalition of Democrats, Independents and Republicans coming together to make a change," said Reid Cherlin, Obama's Massachusetts press secretary. "A lot of people who don't normally vote for Democrats respond to that message."
McCain, who enjoys the support in Berkshire County of former acting governor, Jane Swift, received $17,350 in donations, almost five times more than Romney.
Still, Romney was able to count on his home state for a sizable boost, bolstered by Republican giving that trailed Democrats by only about $2 million in a state where voters are outnumbered by Democrats 3-to-1.
"I think those numbers reflect that Republicans are engaged in Massachusetts and Romney has a lot of support," said Robert Willington, executive director of the Massachusetts Republican Party. "It's no surprise Romney has raised the most money in Massachusetts and is leading in the polls as well."
Among the Democrats, Obama took advantage of the generosity in places like Williamstown ($17,725), Pittsfield ($5,340) and Great Barrington ($7,718).
The Illinois senator pulled in more than $3.7 million statewide, almost $1 million more than Clinton.
Clinton, however, also did well in those more politically inclined cities and towns, beating out Obama in Pittsfield with $9,675 in contributions and almost doubling him in Lenox ($4,900) and Richmond ($5,000) The former first lady collected $40,292 in Berkshire County.
McCain finished fourth in the money race in Massachusetts with $829,062 in contributions, followed by former candidates Rudy Giuliani, Sen. Joe Biden and John Edwards.
"Real Romney record in Massachusetts"
By Matt Kinnaman
The Berkshire Eagle, Op-Ed, Saturday, February 02, 2008
Massachusetts has suffered for nearly 50 years under a growing Democrat monopoly in the Legislature, leading to one of America's most inhospitable business and economic climates.
When Mitt Romney was inaugurated governor in 2003, the Massachusetts Legislature was drunk with deficit spending, and awash in regulatory revels, suffocating entrepreneurial energy and reducing incentives for existing companies to stay in the state, never mind relocate here. These same lawmakers routinely ignored the will of the voters on ballot initiatives, including their smack-down of the people's approval of an income tax reduction which the Legislature refused (and still refuses) to implement.
It's no wonder that Mitt Romney inherited a state economy that trailed overall national numbers in manufacturing, output, job growth, and employment. The real wonder is that, as a Republican governor entering this morass of economic opposition and obstructionism he was able to pull the budget into the black and build a big surplus, while forestalling an adversarial Legislature on income and capital gains tax increases.
That was a feat. The Massachusetts state Legislature is dominated by Democrats by a 7-1 majority, creating the most Republican-adverse legislative environment in the nation. This overwhelming imbalance meant that the Massachusetts Legislature was in a political position to absolutely ignore the leadership of Gov. Romney. It could literally do whatever its legislative heart desired. The legislature had the votes to pass any bill and to override any veto.
Against these odds, it is remarkable that Gov. Romney not only held the line on taxes. He also pressured the Legislature to abandon its dark-of-the-night plans to impose a retroactive capital tax increase on Massachusetts taxpayers. Through a combination of personal persuasion and the generation of grassroots pressure, Romney made sure they didn't get away with it.
When was the last time in American politics that a veto-proof Democrat majority in any legislature failed to raise taxes, never mind being forced to reverse course on a tax hike they had already approved? Romney's success in this Massachusetts tax battle foreshadows far greater possibilities for achieving pro-growth tax reduction nationwide under the leadership of a Romney presidency.
Here's the real Romney record: Gov. Mitt Romney, faced with the most hostile political circumstances encountered by any chief executive in the country, attempted to do what few governors even with friendly legislatures attempt-to promote and enforce pro-growth economic leadership on the two most important fronts: income taxes and capital gains taxes. Romney not only attempted it in Massachusetts. He succeeded.
The bottom-line analysis is strikingly simple: When Romney walked into the corner office on Jan. 1, 2003, the commonwealth of Massachusetts staggered under a $3 billion budget deficit. Romney quickly reversed the tide of red ink, delivering the citizens of his state a $1 billion surplus by 2006. And he did it while preventing a Democrat Legislature from raising income taxes or capital gains taxes.
Romney did the politically impossible in Massachusetts. He stood athwart the most tax-happy Legislature in the nation and shouted "stop!" And he won. As governor, Romney displayed precisely the economic leadership needed from the next president. .
Matt Kinnaman, an Eagle contributor, is a member of the Massachusetts Republican State Committee and was a 2006 candidate for Massachusetts state Senate.
"Romney suspends campaign"
Posted by Foon Rhee, deputy national political editor, February 7, 2008, 12:12 PM
Mitt Romney announced he is suspending his presidential bid, all but annointing John McCain as the Republican nominee.
In a speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, Romney said he didn't want a Democrat to win the White House.
"If I fight on in my campaign, all the way to the convention, I would forestall the launch of a national campaign and frankly I would be making it more likely that Senator Clinton or Obama would win. Frankly, in this time of war, I simply cannot let my campaign, be a part of aiding a surrender to terror," he said.
"This is not an easy decision for me. I hate to lose. My family, my friends and our supporters... many of you right here in this room have given a great deal to get me where I have a shot at becoming President. If this were only about me, I'd go on. But I entered this race because I love America, and because I love America, in this time of war, I feel I must now stand aside, for our party and for our country," he said as the crowd exclaimed, "No, no."
"I will continue to stand for conservative principles; I will fight alongside you for all the things we believe in. And one of those things is that we cannot allow the next President of the United States to retreat in the face of evil extremism!"
He spoke with his wife Ann by his side. He was introduced to raucous applause and chants of "Mitt, Mitt" by radio talk show host Laura Ingraham, who supported him, as the conservatives' conservative.
Romney said he rose from single digits in polls to four million voters and 11 states that have supported him.
The former Massachusetts governor was far behind in delegates after McCain swept winner-take-all states in the Northeast and also won California and other big states on Super Tuesday. But even as he huddled Wednesday with key advisers at his Boston campaign headquarters, a spokesman insisted that Romney was in the race for the long haul.
By suspending his campaign, he technically keeps his delegates in case something bizarre happens and he could restart his bid. Romney had 293 delegates, compared to 703 for McCain, of the 1,191 needed for the nomination.
Romney sought to become the conservative alternative to McCain and courted the activists at the conference, but Mike Huckabee competed for some of the same voters.
While Huckabee has not officially dropped out, he is even further behind in delegates and made clear this week that he would support McCain if he doesn't get the nomination.
Still, the Huckabee campaign said the former Arkansas governor would push on, according to the Associated Press.
"We're still in the race and we're still competing for delegates, and today demonstrates how long and windy to the White House this is," said Chip Saltsman, Huckabee's campaign manager.
Mitt Romney, shown here after he suspended his presidential run Feb. 7, told the Federal Election Commission yesterday that he loaned his campaign $6.95 million in January alone. (Larry Downing/Reuters/File)
"Romney spent $42.3m of own money: McCain reports raising $49m"
By Boston Globe Staff, February 21, 2008
Before abandoning his bid to become president, Mitt Romney put in at least $42.3 million of his own money, a big chunk of the $97 million he spent on the campaign.
His campaign reported to the Federal Election Commission yesterday that he loaned his campaign $6.95 million during January to reach that total.
The former Massachusetts governor's total self-financing puts him ahead of Steve Forbes, the publisher who spent $38 million on his unsuccessful run for the GOP nomination in 1996, but shy of the $63.5 million that H. Ross Perot spent on his 1992 third-party presidential campaign.
Romney's total loan also equates to about $167,000 for each of the 253 delegates he won before suspending his campaign. By suspending his bid, Romney, who made an estimated $250 million as a venture capitalist, can keep raising money to possibly pay himself back.
Romney also reported raising $9.7 million last month, bringing his campaign total to $63.6 million.
That total is appreciably more than that raised by John McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee whom Romney endorsed last week. McCain received contributions totaling about $49 million and borrowed nearly $4 million more by the end of last month.
During January, McCain raised $11.7 million and borrowed $950,000, his campaign reported to the FEC. After he emerged as the front-runner, he raised nearly twice as much in January than during the previous three months combined.
Mike Huckabee, who refuses to concede the nomination to McCain, reported raising nearly $4 million during January, but he spent nearly $5 million to stay competitive, eating up nearly all the cash he had saved up.
Ron Paul said he raised another $4.4 million during January, raising his total to nearly $33 million - far more than better-known contenders. He spent another $6.4 million last month, bringing that total to nearly $27 million.
The Republican campaign cash figures are far less than the leading Democrats' - another sign of the enthusiasm gap between the two parties that is also being reflected in voter turnout.
Barack Obama reported raising more than $36 million during January, the biggest single-month total during a competitive primary. The flood of campaign cash, most of it raised online, enabled him to air ads in the 22 states that voted on Super Tuesday and in the 10 contests since - all of which he has won.
For the entire campaign, Obama has raised more than $138 million, and his campaign told supporters yesterday that it is close to reaching a historic one million donors. "This unprecedented foundation of support has built a campaign that has shaken the status quo and proven that ordinary people can compete in a political process too often dominated by special interests," said the e-mail to donors, urging them to give more before the crucial March 4 primaries in Ohio and Texas.
Democratic rival Hillary Clinton reported that she raised about $13.9 million and loaned her campaign $5 million last month. She has raised nearly $121 million for the campaign as of Jan. 1.
Yesterday, McCain pressed his attack on Obama for backing away from accepting public financing for the general election - as both indicated a year ago they would do. Each could get about $85 million in public funds, but they would not be allowed to raise any other money. Such a step would clearly give the advantage to McCain, who dislikes fund-raising, and would hinder Obama.
In an opinion piece published yesterday in USA Today, Obama wrote that he wants to work toward a spending agreement with the Republican nominee. He laid out a series of conditions, including possibly limiting how much money McCain can spend for the general election while Democratic race continues.
"That's Washington doublespeak," McCain said in Columbus, Ohio. "We either keep our word or we don't keep our word. I think the American people would expect him to hold to that commitment, especially if we want to bring about change."
Obama's spokesman, Bill Burton, responded: "John McCain is in no place to question anyone on pledges when he abandoned the latest campaign finance reform efforts in order to run for the Republican nomination and went back on his commitment to take public financing for the primary election this year."
Material from the Associated Press was also used in this report.
Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., walks out of at the Massachusetts General Hospital after he was released in Boston, Wednesday morning, May 21, 2008 with his wife, Vicki, right, and niece Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg, center right. Kennedy was diagnosed at the hospital with a malignant brain tumor. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia)
This combination of 3 file photos shows, from left: Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy II, D-Mass., Edward Kennedy Jr., and Rep. Patrick Kennedy, D-R.I. People in Massachusetts suddenly are thinking the unthinkable: Who possibly could succeed Sen. Edward Kennedy, patriarch of the famed political family that has dominated the state for more than four decades? (AP Photos)
"Thinking the unthinkable: Who follows Ted Kennedy?"
By ANDREW MIGA – May 22, 2008
WASHINGTON (AP) — People in Massachusetts suddenly are thinking the unthinkable: Who possibly could succeed Sen. Edward Kennedy, patriarch of the famed political family that has dominated the state for more than four decades?
The news about Kennedy's cancerous brain tumor has led to quiet speculation about whether he may try to handpick a successor, possibly paving the way for a relative to take over his seat.
The prospect of Kennedy's eventual departure also has touched off a scramble involving Massachusetts congressmen and others.
Kennedy, 76, is not up for re-election until 2012. But his medical condition has people wondering if he might resign before then or decline to run for another term. Given Kennedy's stature in the Democratic-dominated state, it's a sensitive topic that few in politics are willing to talk about publicly.
"There will be great respect and delicacy, of course," said Tufts University political science professor Jeffrey Berry.
Over the years, the Kennedys have not shied away from grooming family members for office.
In 1962, Kennedy won the Senate seat that his brother, John, held before winning the presidency in 1960.
The Kennedys helped arrange the appointment of John's old roommate, Benjamin A. Smith, to the seat until Edward Kennedy turned 30 and was legally old enough to run for the Senate. Kennedy has held the seat ever since.
With the senator's health now in question, Kennedy's nephew, former Rep. Joseph Kennedy II, D-Mass., is seen as a possible heir. He is sitting on about $2 million in leftover campaign funds.
But the younger Kennedy, who provides low-cost heating oil to the poor through Boston-based Citizens Energy Corp., has balked at running for governor in recent years and shows scant interest in jumping back into politics.
There is the possibility one of the senator's sons, Rep. Patrick Kennedy, D-R.I., or Edward Kennedy Jr., could seek their father's seat. Kennedy's wife, Vicki, has been mentioned, too. There are other Kennedys, too, who could decide to run.
Brown University political science professor Wendy Schiller, who studies Congress, doubts that a family member will succeed the senator, given the faded Kennedy mystique.
"The days when you could do that easily without any backlash — those days are gone," she said.
When the Kennedys maneuvered to win Edward Kennedy his Senate seat four decades ago, the family was intent on building a political dynasty and the Senate was seen as a launching pad for the White House, Schiller said.
"I don't see that necessarily happening with any of the second-generation Kennedys now," she said. "Kennedys can be effective in all sorts of arenas. They don't necessarily have to go to the Senate now."
Beyond the Kennedy clan, Massachusetts boasts a lengthy list of potential candidates from both parties:
_Possible Democrats include Gov. Deval Patrick, Martha Coakley, the state's attorney general; Rep. Edward J. Markey; Rep. Barney Frank; Rep. Stephen Lynch; Rep. Michael Capuano; and Rep. James McGovern. Former Rep. Martin Meehan, who resigned his seat to become chancellor of the University of Massachusetts-Lowell last year, has $4.8 million in leftover campaign funds.
_Among the potential GOP candidates are former Massachusetts Govs. Mitt Romney and William Weld; former Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey; and former White House chief of staff Andrew Card. Romney's bid to unseat Kennedy in 1994 failed.
Unlike most states, Kennedy's successor would be chosen by a special election, not the governor.
State law requires a special election for the seat no sooner than 145 days and no later than 160 days after a vacancy occurs. The law bans an interim appointee.
The law was changed in 2004, when Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry became the Democratic presidential nominee and Romney was governor. Before the change, the governor would have appointed a replacement to serve until the next general election.
That would have created the opportunity to install a fellow Republican in office, a move Democrats who control the state Legislature wanted to block.
REVIEW & OUTLOOK
"The New Big Dig"
May 21, 2008; Page A18, The Wall Street Journal, Editorial
Mitt Romney's presidential run is history, but it looks as if the taxpayers of Massachusetts will be paying for it for years to come. The former Governor had hoped to ride his grand state "universal" health-care reform of 2006 to the White House, but his state's residents are now having to live with what he and the state's Democratic Legislature passed. As the Boston press likes to say, it's "the new Big Dig."
The showpiece of RomneyCare was its individual mandate, a requirement that all Massachusetts residents obtain health insurance by July of last year or else pay penalties. The idea was that getting everyone into the insurance system would eliminate the "free-rider" problem of those who refuse to buy insurance but then go to emergency rooms when they're sick; thus costs would fall. "Will it work? I'm optimistic, but time will tell," Mr. Romney wrote1 in these pages in 2006.
Well, the returns are rolling in, and the critics look prescient. First, the plan isn't "universal" at all: About 350,000 more people are now insured in Massachusetts since the reform passed. Federal estimates put the prior number of uninsured at more than 657,000, so there was a reduction. But it was not secured through the market reforms that Governor Romney promised. Instead, Massachusetts also created a new state entitlement that is already trembling on the verge of bankruptcy inside of a year.
Some two-thirds of the growth in coverage owes to a low- or no-cost public insurance option. Called Commonwealth Care, it uses a sliding income scale to subsidize coverage for everyone under 300% of the federal poverty level, or about $63,000 for a family of four. Commonwealth Care also accounts for 60% of statewide growth in individual insurance over the last year, and the trend is expected to accelerate, perhaps double.
One lesson here is that while pledging "universal" coverage is easy, the harder problem is paying for it. This year's appropriation for Commonwealth Care was $472 million, but officials have asked for an add-on that will bring it to $625 million. For 2009, Governor Deval Patrick requested $869 million but has already conceded that even that huge figure is too low. Over the coming decade, the expected overruns float in as much as $4 billion over budget. It's too early to tell how much is new coverage or if state programs are displacing private insurance.
The "new Big Dig" moniker refers to the legendary cost overruns when Boston rebuilt its traffic system. Now state legislators are pushing new schemes to offset RomneyCare's runaway expenses, including reductions in state payments to doctors and hospitals, enlarged business penalties, an increase in the state tobacco tax, and more restrictions on drug companies and insurers.
Mr. Romney's fundamental mistake was focusing on making health insurance "universal" without first reforming the private insurance market. The "connector" that was supposed to link individuals to private insurance options has barely been used, as lower-income workers flood to the public option. Meanwhile, low-cost private insurers continue to avoid the state because it imposes multiple and costly mandates on all policies.
Hailed at first as a new national model, the Massachusetts nonmiracle ought to be a warning to Washington. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are both proposing versions of RomneyCare on a national scale, with similar promises that covering everyone under a government plan will reduce costs. Mr. Obama at least argues that more people would be covered were insurance more affordable. But his solution is Massachusetts on steroids – make insurance less expensive for policyholders by transferring the extra costs onto the government. Mrs. Clinton likes that but also wants the individual mandate, despite the mediocre results so far.
The real problem in health care is the way the tax code and third-party payment system distort incentives. That's where John McCain has been focusing his reform efforts – because that really does have the potential to reduce costs while covering more of the uninsured – and Republicans ought to follow his lead.
In this respect paradoxically, we can be thankful that Massachusetts ignored the cost problems that doomed other recent liberal health insurance overhauls in California, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Illinois. The Bay State is showing everyone how not to reform health care.
Some analysts said Senator John McCain, shown with Mitt Romney in Denver in March, might undermine his reform message if he picks Romney, someone who bankrolled so much of his own campaign in the primary. (Mary Altaffer/associated press/file)
"Romney not getting his $45m back: Says he won't seek gifts to repay campaign loans"
By Michael Kranish, (Boston) Globe Staff, July 17, 2008
WASHINGTON - Mitt Romney, whose prospects of becoming John McCain's running mate appear on the rise, is preparing to formally declare he will not seek donations to repay $45 million in personal loans he made to his failed presidential bid - the biggest ever made by a candidate in a primary campaign.
The move could clear away the last remnants of a divisive primary race, ensuring that he and his financial supporters are focused on helping McCain, but it could also put him at odds with McCain's campaign reform message.
Romney spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom said yesterday that the former Massachusetts governor is preparing to have the loans "reclassified as contributions" and will write a letter to the Federal Election Commission explaining that he is "forgiving the outstanding loans."
Some analysts said McCain, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, might undermine his reform message if he picks someone who bankrolled so much of his own campaign.
"Democrats would use it as an issue," political analyst Stuart Rothenberg said yesterday. "They would then try to undermine his reputation as 'Mr. Reformer.' "
He said it might also undercut McCain's effort to criticize Democratic rival Barack Obama for switching his position and rejecting public financing for the general election.
Still, Romney's investment in his own campaign and the donor network he built may have helped his vice presidential stock go up. The $45 million helped win widespread name recognition for Romney, who also raised more than $65 million from donors. Since McCain clinched the nomination in March, Romney has asked his supporters to contribute to a Republican National Committee fund that will be used to help McCain's candidacy and he has urged his campaign finance team to work for McCain.
If Romney became the vice presidential nominee, the rules appear to allow him to give or loan unlimited funds to McCain if the ticket rejects public funds, according to Michael J. Malbin, executive director of the nonpartisan Campaign Finance Institute. McCain, however, has said he will take public funds for the general election, a decision expected to translate into a major financial disadvantage for the Republican ticket.
With his unprecedented online fund-raising from small-dollar donors, Obama had brought in more than $287 million by the end of May, compared with nearly $120 million for McCain.
Like McCain, Obama is trying to get the help of the major fund-raisers for a chief rival, Hillary Clinton. She loaned her campaign more than $12 million, and is seeking help from Obama's donors, but said in a recent e-mail to supporters that she would like their help in paying debts she owes to vendors and would not use their donations to repay her own loans.
Romney declined a request yesterday from the Globe to talk about his campaign loans.
During the primaries, he and McCain had unkind words for each other as they skirmished over illegal immigration, the economy, and other issues.
They had some of their most bitter arguments over McCain's landmark campaign finance reform legislation. Romney said the 2002 law "hurt my party, it hurts First Amendment rights. I think it was a bad bill."
McCain responded that the legislation is at the core of his candidacy, and after Obama last month rejected public financing for the fall campaign, he is highlighting the measure in a just- released TV ad that touts him as a "maverick" who "tackled campaign reform."
The 2002 law that McCain cosponsored with Senator Russ Feingold, a Wisconsin Democrat, eliminated unlimited donations to political parties, tried to lessen the advantage of wealthy candidates financing their own congressional campaigns, but did not restrict how much money a presidential candidate could loan or contribute to his or her own campaign.
Romney's ability to finance so much of his primary campaign was the source of much frustration to the McCain campaign, which nearly ran out of funds last fall before the Arizona senator managed to stage his comeback after a victory in the New Hampshire primary.
McCain angrily complained that Romney was spending his fortune on attack ads against him.
Romney, a former venture capitalist worth between $190 million and $250 million, initially said he did not intend to loan money to his presidential campaign, declaring it "akin to a nightmare." Then, as he began giving himself millions of dollars, his campaign said "a loan's a loan," not a gift.
Finally, his campaign said in May that Romney was not likely to seek new donations to reimburse himself. However, the latest Romney campaign filing on June 20 continued to classify the money as a loan.
Fehrnstrom said he did not know when the letter to the FEC would be sent, but it is expected to be submitted before the Republican National Convention in early September, when the primary campaign is considered officially over.
The buzz in political circles is growing that Romney will take the stage in St. Paul as McCain's running mate because he has been among McCain's most vocal supporters - and Obama's most persistent critics.
Romney has heightened his visibility in recent days on behalf of McCain's campaign, doing television and radio interviews in which he touts McCain's candidacy and leaves open the possibility that he would accept a vice presidential nomination.
Romney's stock has risen partly because of the perception that he might help McCain on economic issues, which polls indicate have become a top voter priority as conditions worsen. Asked on MSNBC yesterday about the importance having a vice president with economic expertise, Romney said the presidential candidate's policies are more important. "McCain is right on the economic issues of the day, and that's why he will win," Romney said.
While Romney fended off any speculation about the vice presidential sweepstakes in appearances on both CNN and MSNBC yesterday and McCain has declined to say who is on his short list, McCain has taken notice of Romney's salesmanship.
"I'm appreciative every time I see Mitt on television on my behalf," the Arizona senator told a New Mexico audience on Monday. "He does a better job for me than he did for himself, as a matter of fact."
Michael Kranish can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney greets an attendee of the Democratic National Convention. Republicans have their Denver headquarters just blocks away. (By Jae C. Hong -- Associated Press)
"Romney Leads a Denver Counteroffensive"
By Shailagh Murray, Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, August 27, 2008; Page A23
DENVER, Aug. 26 -- Blocks away from the Democratic convention site Tuesday, Republicans waged an aggressive "Not Ready '08" counteroffensive led by Mitt Romney, a potential running mate for Sen. John McCain who was trying out the attack-dog role.
Romney ripped into Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr., Sen. Barack Obama's running mate, who was chosen in part because of his lengthy foreign policy résumé. "His record being wrong on foreign policy is as long as his years in foreign policy," Romney asserted, ticking off examples such as Biden's opposition to the troop buildup in Iraq and to the Cold War arms increase under President Ronald Reagan.
Romney touted his former GOP primary rival as a "true-blooded American hero" who is addressing "real issues" while Obama is "talking about bromides of such a generic nature that we don't know where he'd actually lead." Romney even conducted a television interview from inside the Pepsi Center as Democratic delegates gathered for a second-day program focused on domestic issues and featuring a prime-time speech by Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton.
The Republican National Committee set up its own Denver headquarters in an office building near downtown. The Republicans run a rapid-response operation there and even printed their own slick, official-looking mock credentials and signs under the "Not Ready '08" slogan, featuring Obama's image and the tag line "A mile high, an inch deep." The RNC announced that, on Wednesday, former New York mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, former Maryland lieutenant governor Michael S. Steele and former U.S. treasurer Rosario Marin would hold a news conference to address "why Barack Obama is wrong on national security."
The GOP effort added to concerns among some Democrats that the Obama campaign has been too sluggish and soft about drawing a contrast with McCain. Obama spokesman Bill Burton said the focus will shift to McCain in the convention's final days, and he defended Monday night's speeches by Sen. Edward M. Kennedy and Michelle Obama as crucial opening chapters. "It's important that we tell people who Barack Obama is and where he wants to take this country," Burton asserted. Starting Tuesday night, he promised, "you'll see a lot more about the choice in this election."
Romney held back-to-back events that drew overflow crowds of reporters, and he unleashed a stream of sharp critiques about the Democratic team. Gone were all signs of his strained relationship with McCain during their GOP primary battle. "Every effort to try and portray John McCain as someone that doesn't connect with the American people will fall extraordinarily short -- just as short as the effort to say he's the continuation of George W. Bush," Romney said. "The American people recognize that's total baloney."
He issued a challenge on national security, saying that Obama has ignored "what Republicans consider to be the greatest threat of the civilized world," which he described as "radical, violent, Islamic jihadism."
Romney also dropped a reference to William Ayers, who Obama has socialized with in Chicago and who was a founding member of the Weather Underground, a radical 1960s group. He also cited Obama's relationship with Chicago developer Antoin "Tony" Rezko, who was convicted on corruption charges, although the case had nothing to do with Obama.
McCain is expected to announce his running mate as early as Friday, and Romney is considered a leading contender for the job, along with Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, former Pennsylvania governor Tom Ridge and independent Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (Conn.).
One of Romney's potential drawbacks as a running mate may be his enormous personal wealth, after Democrats jumped on a comment by McCain last week that he wasn't sure how many houses he and his wife, Cindy, own. The total is eight.
"John McCain earned his homes through the hard work, insight and fortitude of his family and himself," Romney said. He added that the McCains use only four homes "for their personal living quarters" and that "I don't think the politics of envy end up being successful in the final analysis."
Asked how many houses he owns, Romney responded: "One less than John Kerry -- that's four."
In an interview on CNN, Romney was asked whether he would be ready to debate Biden in a potential vice presidential debate. Biden is an "impenetrable thicket of words," Romney replied. "I don't know if anyone is ready to debate him."
Romney was then shown clips from a Republican primary debate, where the former Massachusetts governor listed a litany of what he saw as McCain's faults, including that he is "outside the mainstream of Republican thought," and was a driving force behind the McCain-Feingold campaign finance bill and the McCain-Kennedy immigration bill. And, Romney said in the clips, if you're endorsed by the New York Times -- as McCain was -- you're not a real Republican.
What did Romney say Tuesday?
"That just points out that John McCain is his own man," he said.
Staff writer Michael D. Shear, traveling with the McCain campaign, contributed to this report.
"Romney gets speaking slot tonight"
Posted by Foon Rhee, deputy national political editor
September 3, 2008, 11:48 AM
By Lisa Wangsness, (Boston) Globe Staff
ST. PAUL -- Mitt Romney will get to speak at the Republican National Convention, but it won't be during the hour that the broadcast networks are airing coverage.
He is scheduled to speak at around 9:15 EDT tonight, and plans to outline differences between the visions of John McCain and Barack Obama.
He had originally been slated to speak this evening, before Hurricane Gustav shortened the convention and forced organizers to revamp the schedule.
Romney spoke today to the Michigan and Minnesota delegations, is also meeting with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, and will be making the rounds of several cable news shows this afternoon before making final preparations for his speech.
The Boston Globe, Op-Ed, JOAN VENNOCHI
"What is the future for Mitt Romney?"
By Joan Vennochi, September 11, 2008
EVANGELICALS are boosting Sarah Palin. The same crowd helped derail Mitt Romney.
Romney failed to soar for many reasons, including religious bigotry.
Much of politics comes down to the personal. From that perspective, an anecdote involving a dog named Seamus who once took a long road trip in a cage atop the Romney family station wagon symbolizes Romney's larger political dilemma. On the campaign trail, Romney often came across as stiff and bloodless. Instead of the common man's touch, he offered the resume and solutions of a CEO. Even in casual garb, he had the vibe of Richard Nixon in wingtips on the beach, with better hair and tailoring and the technical benefits of 21st-century PowerPoint.
Beyond symbolism, Romney couldn't convince conservatives on the substance. They refused to buy the obvious flips and flops he took to conform to their social agenda. His status as ex-governor of Massachusetts didn't help his cause.
John McCain, one of Romney's chief primary opponents, had a similar problem with conservatives, until he chose Palin as his running mate. But during the primary season, McCain didn't have to deal with the one burden Romney could never put down, his Mormon religion.
The controversy over Romney's religion was so intense, he gave a speech that was widely compared with the one given by John F. Kennedy to explain his Catholicism. Romney's "Faith in America" address was widely praised.
But Mike Huckabee, the ex-governor of Arkansas and a onetime Southern Baptist preacher, won the Iowa caucus with help from evangelical Christians who don't consider Mormonism a Christian denomination. In ensuing contests, Huckabee won those same hearts and votes, to Romney's disadvantage and McCain's benefit.
On the day he ended his presidential campaign, Romney walked off the stage to ovations for a speech he gave to the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington. Yet as soon as his name popped up on the list of possible McCain running mates, evangelicals, an important slice of the conservative constituency, made it clear that choice was unacceptable.
"Evangelicals warn against Romney on the ticket," the Washington Times reported on July 29.
"I will vote for McCain unless he does one thing. You know what that is? If he puts Romney on the ticket as veep," the Rev. Rob McCoy, a pastor who speaks at evangelical events across the country, told the newspaper. "It will alienate the entire evangelical community."
In a follow-up editorial, the Washington Times wrote, "much of the white evangelical opposition to Mr. Romney is not based on principle. It is simply old-fashioned bigotry. White evangelicals need to be reminded that this is America - a republic where neither religious convictions nor the lack thereof disqualifies a politician from office."
In the end, McCain chose Palin, the little-known governor of Alaska, whose gender and ultra-conservative ideology were part of McCain's overall political calculation. Palin's evangelical beliefs also stand to get the wider evangelical community behind the Republican ticket.
The entire Palin package is a gamble that is so far paying off for McCain.
Just on the demographics alone, McCain-Romney could never have matched the excitement kicked up by McCain-Palin. Romney's speech to the Republican National Convention also demonstrated the political tin ear that periodically hurt his presidential campaign. He railed against "liberal Washington," when Republicans controlled the White House for the past eight years and Congress until two years ago.
If Palin truly represents the GOP's future, as some political analysts predict, Romney is history.
If McCain wins in November, and Palin grows in the job of vice president, Romney's presidential campaign is stalled.
If McCain-Palin loses, and there is no Palin implosion to blame for a Republican defeat, McCain's running mate will get credit for breathing some life into his uninspiring White House run. That would enhance her political prospects and put Romney's on hold, along with those of other Republicans who aspire to the Oval Office.
If the Palin bubble bursts, exposing a weak and unprepared candidate, Romney has another shot at presidential politics. If religious bigotry is the ultimate tripping point, it is guaranteed to end the same way.
Joan Vennochi can be reached at email@example.com.
"Healey headed to Afghanistan"
The Associated Press, Friday, September 26, 2008
BOSTON (AP) — Former Massachusetts Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey is headed to Afghanistan as part of a federal effort to recruit Afghani women who want to come to the U.S. and study to become lawyers and judges.
Healey is a key member of the Public Private Partnership for Justice Reform in Afghanistan, a nonprofit organization working with the State Department to reform the nation's legal system.
Healey, a Republican who served as lieutenant governor in former Gov. Mitt Romney's administration, tells the Boston Herald her mission is to recruit women who want to learn how the legal system works in a democracy.
Healey and other American women will travel to Afghanistan on Oct. 12 to meet with the country's new attorney general and members of its supreme court. She calls her mission "inspirational."
"Sharing the burden"
By Boston Herald Editorial Staff, Tuesday, October 14, 2008, www.bostonherald.com, Editorials
Gov. Deval Patrick and the state’s legislative leaders continue to insist that cutting local aid to cities and towns is a matter of “last resort.” But as our elected leaders struggle to balance an out-of-balance budget and call for budget cuts of up to 10 percent, it is folly to think that local aid - which today accounts for nearly 20 percent of the state’s operating budget - can be held entirely harmless.
Yes, for local officials it is a painful proposition. But as long as Beacon Hill insists on putting off the seemingly inevitable they will make it more difficult to absorb the hit.
We don’t have to dial too far back in the way-back machine to study the lessons of the last time cities and towns were forced to deal with midyear budget cuts. It was 2003, and Gov. Mitt Romney was forced to close a $600 million budget hole in part by trimming local aid. That was in January.
By town meeting time, they were still struggling to sort out the chaos. The response from local officials was loud, and it was ugly.
Now mayors and selectmen all over Massachusetts are again sounding the alarm over the prospect of cuts in local aid. Before a meeting with Lt. Gov. Tim Murray on Friday, local officials warned of layoffs and reductions in service. But Murray reassured officials that local aid won’t be hit in the first round of cuts expected this week (unless the Legislature grants Patrick expanded authority to cut the budget, it can’t be) and even resurrected the dreaded cheeseburger tax as a possible remedy to help cities and towns.
Hey, people can’t afford to dine out anyway, so why not add to the tax burden!
But as he mulled giving Romney expanded budget-cutting authority back in 2003, then-Senate President Robert Travaglini made a suggestion we found particularly useful. “Whatever the medicine is or must be,” he said, “it is best to be administered and taken swiftly.”
It still applies.
Article URL: http://www.bostonherald.com/news/opinion/editorials/view.bg?articleid=1125340
The Boston Globe, Op-Ed, ERIC FEHRNSTROM
"Ups and downs of a digital-age campaign"
By Eric Fehrnstrom, November 8, 2008
EARLY ON, I had a feeling the 2008 election was going to be different. As we prepared for the launch of Mitt Romney's national campaign, we looked to clean up his biographical entry on Wikipedia, the popular online encyclopedia edited by its users. Notoriously unreliable, it would serve as the first source of information for people curious about the then-unknown governor from Massachusetts.
A prankster beat us there: Romney's entry falsely claimed he spoke fluent Swahili and several different Bantu dialects. Despite our efforts to correct the record, over the course of the campaign more than one supporter would marvel to me about Romney's felicity with African languages.
There's something to be said for the old media filter. Despite its shortcomings, I kind of miss it.
In one positive sense, the still-evolving digital age means citizens with video cameras can have more impact than seasoned political reporters. The press corps may not have thought John McCain singing "Bomb, bomb, bomb Iran" was news at first, but they reconsidered when the Drudge Report linked to the video. Early GOP front-runner George Allen's "macaca" moment not only strangled his infant candidacy for president, but it torpedoed his 2006 reelection to the US Senate.
The lesson for us media handlers: Beware the innocuous-looking person with the YouTube account silently taping everything. He could destroy your day. Far less threatening was the reporter who abided by the conventional rules of journalism and knew the meaning of "off the record."
Yes, the Internet kept the mainstream media honest, and it opened new doors for candidates. Networking with tens of thousands of friends on MySpace and Facebook, it became easier to recruit volunteers. To raise money, there was no longer a need to rent a room and invite wealthy donors to munch on food and sip cocktails. Instead, donations came pouring in through the Web in response to an e-mail. In February 2007, Romney forever changed the traditional fund-raiser when he raised $6.5 million in a single day by gathering supporters at the convention center in South Boston and giving them laptops and phones.
But the Internet also allowed dirty politics to go viral. In 2004, Swift Boat Veterans for Truth paid millions of dollars for ads suggesting John Kerry's military service was dishonorable. In 2008, not a penny was spent to spread the false claim that Barack Obama was a Muslim. It received so much attention that an election-eve poll in Texas showed that nearly one-quarter of voters there believed it. Thanks to the irresponsible reporting of the left-wing site Daily Kos, another myth had it that Sarah Palin was not the mother of her infant son, Trig, and that the child actually belonged to her eldest daughter, Bristol.
Here in Massachusetts, a fringe group e-mailed conservatives around the country the absurd claim that it was Romney, not the Supreme Judicial Court, who legalized gay marriage. During the primary, I lost count of how many times Romney was asked about a feared North American union of Mexico, Canada, and the United States - a conspiracy spread by right-wing bloggers who believed all three countries would be linked by a single government, a common currency, and a 10-lane superhighway.
Where are the online gatekeepers? Gatekeeping is the most important function for the offline media. Editors decide which stories get published. They make sure rumors aren't printed. Sensitive information is double- and sometimes triple-sourced. Gatekeeping serves an important purpose in establishing the ethics of journalism. Sadly, it doesn't exist on the Web.
What can be done? Citizen-journalists and bloggers need to provide links to websites that contain factual data backing up their assertions. These connections add credibility. And while Internet libel suits can be difficult to win, they should be pursued more often.
Moreover, it would help if TV and newspapers resisted the temptation to get edgier in their own reporting. If you can't be "first" with the rumors, be first with the most comprehensive and factual account. In the current Wild West state of political reporting, you will be rewarded with loyal readership in search of honest and objective coverage.
Eric Fehrnstrom was senior communications adviser for Mitt Romney's presidential campaign.
The Boston Globe, Op-Ed, RON GETTELFINGER
"Automakers a step ahead of Romney"
By Ron Gettelfinger, December 4, 2008
THIS MAY not come as a surprise to the people of Massachusetts: Former governor Mitt Romney is stuck in the past. He apparently believes the auto industry has not changed at all since his father was CEO of American Motors in the 1950s and 1960s.
In a recent New York Times opinion piece, Romney argued that instead of receiving a short-term low-interest loan to help weather the current financial crisis, Chrysler, Ford, and GM should be forced into bankruptcy. This approach, he said, would allow the companies to break current union contracts to get "new labor agreements to align pay and benefits to match those of workers at competitors like BMW, Honda, Nissan and Toyota."
Not even a week later, Romney hedged his argument. "I'm not sure the right number is $25 billion," he said. "But whatever it is, it can only be a check written if the auto industry has restructured itself so it can be competitive long term."
In fact, significant restructuring has already taken place - including our 2007 contract, which largely accomplishes the competitive pay and benefits Romney speaks of - nearly or completely eliminating the cost gap between domestic producers and foreign nameplate competitors.
To help change the "management culture" of US automakers, Romney suggests that our union negotiate a profit-sharing agreement, so workers will have a stake in the company's success. We did it more than two decades ago, during 1982 negotiations with Ford and GM and during 1986 negotiations with Chrysler.
Romney's prescription that we take action to end the "enmity" between labor and management is also decades out of date. At our initiative, we began joint employee involvement programs with auto companies in 1979, stressing quality, safety, and productivity.
The impact is clear on the factory floor and in the product showroom: UAW-made vehicles are winning recommendations from Consumer Reports and quality awards from J.D. Power. And according to the Harbour Report - the industry standard for measuring factory efficiency - nine out of the 10 most efficient auto assembly plants in America are union plants.
Finally, Romney's argument that bankruptcy must be used to reduce retiree benefits so that domestic automakers can be "competitive" with foreign nameplate operations also reflects a lack of knowledge about the real structural conditions of the US auto industry.
The main reason our competitors in the United States have lower costs for retiree benefits is not because they don't have union contracts; it's because they have very few US retirees. They only started operating in this country in the early 1980s.
The overwhelming majority of retirees from Toyota, Nissan, Honda, BMW, and Mercedes live in countries where universal, national health systems provide quality, affordable healthcare.
The real solution to the high healthcare costs that burden American employers - not just automakers - is establishing a universal, national healthcare system.
Thankfully, we finally have a Congress and a president-elect who are committed to real healthcare reform. In our negotiations with the domestic automakers in 2007, however, our members realized that we could not wait for the government to act. We took action ourselves, by establishing an independent trust - called a Voluntary Employee Beneficiary Association - which will assume responsibility for retiree healthcare, removing this cost from the company's books once and for all.
The VEBA will be funded by employer and employee contributions, including wage deferrals and modified retiree benefits. By 2010, the VEBA trust will cut employer costs for retiree healthcare at Chrysler, Ford, and General Motors by 50 percent, saving tens of billions of dollars at each company.
Like many American families, we've sacrificed wage increases to pay for our healthcare. We've seen the value of our life savings plummet from the turmoil in the stock market, and we've seen the value of our homes drop after the crash of the real estate bubble.
And we're more than a little curious: How come banks and Wall Street investment houses can get a multibillion-dollar bailout no questions asked, while Main Street manufacturing is forced to wait for a low-interest loan that will be paid back to taxpayers?
Mitt Romney may be willing to let us die, but we're determined to live.
Ron Gettelfinger is president of the United Auto Workers union.
"Romney paves way for possible '12 run: Bulk of PAC fund goes for political ambitions"
By Frank Phillips, Boston Globe Staff, December 8, 2008
Republican Mitt Romney is laying the groundwork for a possible White House campaign in 2012, hiring a team of staff members and consultants with money from a fund-raising committee he established with the ostensible purpose of supporting other GOP candidates.
The former Massachusetts governor has raised $2.1 million for his Free and Strong America political action committee. But only 12 percent of the money has been spent distributing checks to Romney's fellow Republicans around the country.
Instead, the largest chunk of the money has gone to support Romney's political ambitions, paying for salaries and consulting fees to over a half-dozen of Romney's longtime political aides, according to a Globe review of expenditures.
Romney founded the Free and Strong America Committee shortly after dropping out of the 2008 presidential primary. He filled its coffers by telling conservative contributors around the country that their money would be used to support Republican candidates and causes.
According to the Globe analysis, he spent $244,000 on contributions to congressional and other candidates between April and the November elections. He has spent more than twice as much on staff salaries and contracts to hire professional fund-raisers, who are compiling contributor lists that will serve Romney well in a future presidential campaign.
In essence, Romney is financing a political enterprise that he can use to remain a national GOP leader and use as a springboard should he decide to launch another presidential bid for 2012.
Romney aides insisted that the primary mission of the Free and Strong America Political Action Committee is to raise money for other Republicans around the country and to promote GOP policies. The committee says that booster work included flying Romney to various districts to help congressional candidates, many of whom happened to support his 2008 presidential primary candidacy.
But the committee's track record of spending most of the money on other expenses, such as Romney's political staff, raises questions about written fund-raising solicitations he has made that were mailed to potential contributors, including this one:
"It is more essential than ever that conservative candidates and organizations have the resources they need to get their message out to voters," Romney said in the fund-raising appeal. "Because of your help, my political action committee . . . is supporting over 70 candidates this election cycle. Your continued support today will ensure that they have the assistance they need to win."
Campaign finance experts say the Free and Strong America committee's use of its funds for Romney's political expenses is well within the legal restrictions set by law. They also note that it is not entirely unusual for high-profile politicians to use such political action committees, despite their appeals to donors like the ones Romney makes, to keep large sums for their own purposes.
"This is not uncommon and not illegal, but it is unfortunate and deceptive to tell donors their funds are going to help candidates when in fact a big chunk is used to further the career of the political person who created the PAC," said Paul S. Ryan, associate legal counsel to the Campaign Legal Center, a nonpartisan group in Washington that monitors campaign finance laws.
"The legal reality is contributor beware," he said. "It would be wise for donors to look at the track records."
Romney spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom argued that the Free and Strong America committee's contributions of $244,000 to other candidates represented a significant percentage of the committee's overall expenditures. Its "level of financial support was extraordinary," when compared with other national leaders of Romney's standing, he said.
But, despite the language of Romney's direct fund-raising appeals to contributors, Fehrnstrom said contributing money to other candidates was actually secondary to its role of paying for Romney to make personal appearances around the country.
"The main purpose of Mitt Romney's PAC is to enable him to travel around the country on virtually a full-time basis to campaign and raise funds for candidates and to promote policies that will strengthen America," Fehrnstrom said.
Fehrnstrom said Romney campaigned this fall in 28 congressional districts, six US Senate races, two state races, and that he appeared at 37 events on behalf of John McCain.
One of the Free and Strong America committee's largest expenditures was to a firm owned by Spencer J. Zwick, a close Romney aide, which was paid $221,794 from April to November. Fehrnstrom said Zwick takes no salary but uses the money paid to his firm to pay ongoing commissions to several Romney fund-raisers who served on Romney's presidential campaign staff.
Another $250,000 went to pay salaries and consulting fees, including $115,000 for Romney's senior political staff - Beth Myers, Peter Flaherty, and Eric Fehrnstrom, - all of whom had also served in top posts in the governor's office and in his presidential campaign. Zwick's firm paid longtime Romney fund-raisers and political operatives Steve Roche and Donald Stirling hefty fees as a percentage of the funds they raised. The committee also paid $102,000 to a payroll and benefits management company.
The committee's biggest single expense went to a printing and direct mailing firm in New Hampshire, SCM Associates, which was paid $320,210, as of the last Federal Election filings that cover up to Oct. 15.
Although Romney raised dire warnings of Democrats "spending millions" to defeat Republicans last fall, the list of candidates who received funds is dominated by incumbents who were either unopposed or headed to an easy victory, and who also endorsed his presidential candidacy.
Qualifying for a donation from the committee did not necessarily depend on a candidate's need for financial assistance. US Representative Rodney Alexander of Louisiana got $4,600 and his GOP colleague Lamar S. Smith of Texas received a $2,300 donation, although both had no opponents. They each had endorsed Romney in his presidential bid.
Mississippi's US Senator Thad Cochran, who threw his support for Romney, was easily favored to win reelection, but he still got a $2,300 donation from the committee. Cochran won with 62 percent of the vote. Another Republican senator, Lamar Alexander, a popular Tennessee Republican who was under no threat of losing his seat, got a $2,300 check from Romney as he cruised to victory with 65 percent of the vote.
Romney's committee gave $2,300 to US Representative Phil Gingrey of Georgia, another backer in his presidential race who faced minimal opposition and won reelection with 68 percent of the vote. Another Republican House member, Kay Granger, who has not faced any serious opposition in the last several election cycles, got a $2,300 check and went on to win with 67 percent of the vote. She, too, had endorsed his presidential candidacy.
Romney distributed another $180,000 to nonfederal candidates this fall from a pool of more than $1.6 million that he accumulated in state political action committees in a half-dozen key presidential primary states.
"The Age of Ron Paul"
The North Adams Transcript Online, By Matt Kinnaman, Thursday, January 8, 2009
The Obama songs and posters and visible-from-space inscriptions mowed into farm fields notwithstanding, there are some in the land who remain un-enamored by the new age scheduled to dawn in only 12 days.
One is Jim Bashour, the chairman of the Berkshire County Republican Association, who said this week, "Obama is not going to save us."
Bashour obviously has not ordered a framed "Obama will save us" wall hanging, complete with sunrise art, which can be added to your cart for $14.99 at an easy-to-reach online store (finding it took me two clicks), along with similarly imprinted shirts, mugs, bags, buttons and stickers. It all feels like the ultimate reality bailout plan. For a nation worn down by war and Wall Street, the Age of Obama arrives just in time.
"This young man is the hope of the entire world that America will change and be made better ... if you look at Barack Obama's audiences and look at the effect of his words, those people are being transformed."
Thus spoke Nation of Islam Minister Louis Farrakhan nearly a year ago at the annual Saviour's Day address. A majority of voters were subsequently duly impressed, giving rise to Jan. 20, 2009, mall-crowding expectations in D.C. that enthused estimators claim will dwarf the minister's famous "Million Man March" by a factor of four.
And yet, listen closely and you can hear a voice in the wilderness. As Bloomberg news columnist Caroline Baum wrote last month, "the few remaining limited-government types are hunkered down at Washington's Cato Institute," a leading libertarian think tank. Baum quotes Cato Senior Fellow Dan Mitchell: "It's very lonely. We're thinking of running an ad on E-Harmony: Seeking small-government conservatives."
In her article, "Borrow, tax, and spend," Baum makes the case that "Almost everyone today agrees that a big fiscal stimulus is just what the doctor ordered to lift the U.S. economy out of what is fast becoming the worst slump since the Great Depression.
The only questions for the Obama administration are the size of the package (anywhere from $500 billion to $1 trillion) and its composition (infrastructure, tax cuts, transfers to the states, "green" jobs, etc.)... When the history of this crisis is written, the Fed's role (monetizing the debt) will probably get lost amid the hosannas for fiscal stimulus. Both Democrats and Republicans, who seem to have adopted big government as their own, are on board. Rare is the voice that objects to committing vast sums of money for a theory I thought was as dead as Keynes in the long run."
Rare indeed. During last year's Republican presidential primaries, a bookish, believing and committed group of grass roots political disciples emerged for a few moments from the shadow of the main event, where McCain, Romney, and Huckabee duked it out, to warn of the impending monetary crisis. The most common responses from within their own party -- the party most disposed (theoretically anyway) to embrace conservative and libertarian economic impulses -- predominantly ranged from dismissal to condescension. These "Ron Paul people" became the butt of jokes and jibes from mainstream activists eager to get on with the business of nominating an "electable" Republican candidate.
Ron Paul's presidential candidacy foundered on the shoals of major party political expediency. Subsequently, John McCain's September campaign-and-debate cancellation Waterloo in the face of the "sudden" financial crisis sealed Obama's victory and brought on the now nearly biblical build up of expectations focused on Jan. 20.
On Nov. 20, 2008, Ron Paul spoke on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives:
"At least 90 percent of the cause for the financial crisis can be laid at the doorstep of the Federal Reserve," he said. "It is the manipulation of credit, the money supply and interest rates that caused the various bubbles to form. Congress added fuel to the fire by various programs and institutions like the Community Reinvestment Act, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, FDIC and HUD mandates, which were all backed up by aggressive court rulings."
He added, "The Fed has now doled out close to $2 trillion in subsidized loans to troubled banks and other financial institutions. The whole bailout process this past year was characterized by no oversight, no limits, no concerns, no understanding and no common sense."
In the onrushing Age of Obama, Ron Paul's prescient prophecies illuminate a lasting fiscal truth: Economic salvation arises not from bailout dispensations but from a sober grasp of classic monetary reality. It's time to get a grip.
Matt Kinnaman of Lee writes his column every week for the Transcript.
"Free Choice Act is good for workers"
The Berkshire Eagle - Letters, Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Matt Kinnaman's column on the Dec. 31 op-ed page ("Democrats vs. democracy") was, as he acknowledged, based on Richard Ebeling's article published by the American Institute for Economic Research. Thus, a right-wing foundation publishes an anti-union article and it eventually appears in The Berkshire Eagle.
Matt is opposed to "big labor" and the proposed Employee Free Choice Act. For the past 30 years, I have sought to organize professional civil servants (analysts and the like) into a union. It has not been easy. A dozen New York City personnel examiners signed cards seeking union coverage in 1970. By 1978, their organization had grown to more than 300 voluntary dues-paying members, but they were still not allowed to belong to a union. At that point, I was assigned to help them.
After seven years of legal proceedings, we finally got an election at one agency for 38 potential members. The vote was 20-7 in favor of the union. It took three more years of legal and administrative proceedings before 650 more analysts were allowed to choose. They voted for the union, two to one. It took four more years before the union fully covered all the non-managerial analysts in New York City employ. By 1992, we finally had over 3,000 analysts represented and covered by due process rights, allowed to grieve mistreatment, entitled to seniority pay, and so on.
For 14 years, I had divided by time between convincing analysts to sign a union designation card and arguing their right to belong to a union before various tribunals. The organizing was easy and emotionally rewarding. The tribunals were designed to move as slowly as possible and management lied an awful lot.
Matt Kinnaman likes the current setup, not because it is more democratic (it is not), but because the current process is grossly unfair to workers who want to join a union. Of course, Matt will probably call me a "big union boss") but he won't be correct. My brothers and sisters at the Organization of Staff Analysts, who have been kind enough to re-elect me every two years for a long time now, never call me boss at all. They call me Bob.
The Employee Free Choice Act is a good law. It should be passed no matter how many corporations are against it.
ROBERT. J. CROGHAN
New York City
The writer is chairperson of the executive board of the Organization of Staff Analysts in New York City.
"Romney puts in his two cents"
Posted by Foon Rhee, deputy national political editor, boston.com, January 15, 2009, 10:22 A.M.
Mitt Romney is on Capitol Hill this morning, testifying about Barack Obama's economic recovery plan.
The former Massachusetts governor, seen as one of the Republican party's leading lights on the economy, was invited by new House Republican Whip Eric Cantor of Virginia, who says the hearing is in response to Obama's outreach for GOP input. (Click here for a link to live streaming video.)
"The best medicine for a sick economy is permanent tax relief," Romney said.
He said any spending should only go to urgently needed projects, such as military modernization.
Obama is proposing that about 40 percent of the stimulus package -- pegged at $775 billion or more -- go to individual and business tax cuts. He also wants spending on infrastructure, but also on projects that support his longer-term goals on education, healthcare, and the environment.
Of course, if the election had gone differently -- and especially if John McCain had picked him as his running mate -- Romney's say in the stimulus package would be much louder.
The ski home that Mitt and Ann Romney own in Deer Valley overlooks a reservoir and mountains. The Romneys own four mansions across the country.
"2 Romney estates hit the market"
By David Abel, Boston Globe Staff, February 17, 2009
The "cabin" in Deer Valley, Utah, which overlooks a reservoir and mountains, comes fully furnished with custom-made light fixtures, specially sculpted fireplace screens, and eight full bathrooms. Called the "perfect retreat," it is 9,500 square feet on 11 acres. The asking price: $5,250,000.
The other abode, the former first residence of Massachusetts, boasts proximity to good schools, a tennis court, and more than 6,400 square feet on 2.5 acres, much of it featuring a once-controversial, well-tended lawn. The price for the pink Colonial on Belmont's Marsh Street hasn't been set yet, but it may be a bargain: At an estimated $3 million, its value has dropped by about $1 million over the past two years, according to Zillow.com, which appraises real estate.
The mansions, two of four owned by former governor Mitt Romney and his wife, Ann, have just been put on the market.
"The reason they're selling is because they have more space than they need," said Eric Fehrnstrom, a longtime spokesman for the Romney family, in a telephone interview yesterday. "The Romney children are all grown and have families of their own, so they're downsizing and simplifying."
Asked whether the Romneys are selling because they are suffering due to the recession or because of the $42 million the former governor spent on his presidential campaign, Fehrnstrom said no.
"Like any American family, the Romneys haven't escaped the effects of the downturn in the economy," he said. "But the reason they're selling two of the homes is just simply because they have more space than they need."
Fehrnstrom wouldn't say how much the Romneys have lost. He noted that after Romney suspended his bid for president last year, he paid $12 million for an oceanfront home in La Jolla, Calif.
Romney still owns an estate that overlooks Lake Winnipesaukee in Wolfeboro, N.H., which was valued at about $10 million two years ago.
In 2006, Romney was criticized after the Globe reported that he used a landscaping company that hired illegal immigrants to maintain his lawn in Belmont.
Fehrnstrom said the Romneys plan to buy a condo in Massachusetts and maintain their official residence here, though they haven't decided where.
During the presidential campaign, Senator John McCain was criticized for owning at least eight homes.
When asked whether Romney was downsizing to avoid similar criticism if he runs again, Fehrnstrom said, "That didn't have any bearing on it."
"Romney seeks early nod from the right: Opposes Obama stimulus, backs bank bailout"
By Sasha Issenberg, Boston Globe Staff, February 28, 2009
WASHINGTON - Mitt Romney returned yesterday to a conservative gathering where his 2008 presidential campaign was both birthed and buried, helping to establish the onetime moderate Massachusetts governor as a movement favorite, de-facto leader of an out-of-power party, and an early, default front-runner for the 2012 nomination.
"We realized by last year Mitt Romney was one of the family," said David Keene, the influential head of the American Conservative Union, who introduced Romney to a standing-room only crowd at the Conservative Political Action Conference. "He is more important to us today than he was last year."
In his speech, Romney reestablished the cornerstones of his campaign platform, warning against the excesses of liberal judges, calling for "free-market" changes to Social Security and Medicare, and saying the President Obama's plan to close the Guantanamo Bay prison is "the very kind of thinking that left America vulnerable to the attacks of September 11th."
At the same time, Romney addressed issues that would have been unimaginable a year ago. He declared his opposition to the $787 billion economic stimulus package recently signed into law while tentatively recommitting his support to a financial services bailout in excess of $700 billion that has been unpopular among some on the right. In addition, Obama's resistance to a missile-defense system had strengthened Russia's political standing regionally, he argued.
"Some critics speak as if we need to redefine conservatism," Romney said. "I think that misses the mark. America's challenges are different from year to year, but our defining principles remain the same. Conservatives don't enter each new political era trying to figure out what we believe."
Romney, who launched a political action committee to help Republican candidates nationwide soon after dropping out of the presidential race last year, will be on the ballot when conference attendees conclude voting today on a 2012 presidential straw poll, an early measure of popularity among activists.
Romney will compete with fellow 2008 also-rans Mike Huckabee and Rudolph Giuliani, in addition to Alaska Governor Sarah Palin and Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, who are both popular within the party but chose not to travel to the conference.
Romney won the vote at the 2007 conference, effectively launching his campaign, and withdrew from the race here in 2008, two days after being beaten by Senator John McCain in the Super Tuesday primaries.
"Mitt Romney to fundraise for Bobby Jindal"
AP, March 16, 2009
BOSTON --Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, touted as a possible contender for the White House, is getting fundraising help from another possible GOP presidential hopeful, Mitt Romney.
Jindal is holding a campaign event on April 16 in Boston organized by Steve Roche, one of Romney's fundraisers.
Romney spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom said the former Massachusetts governor and 2008 presidential candidate agreed to lend his name to the event, citing a need to strengthen the party and support Republican candidates.
The trip adds another out-of-state visit for Jindal, who in recent months has traveled to Florida, Mississippi, Texas, California, Connecticut, North Carolina, Arkansas and Washington, D.C., to raise money for his 2011 re-election bid.
"Romney prints ‘baseball card’ for political donations"
By Associated Press, Monday, April 6, 2009, www.bostonherald.com - Local Politics
BOSTON — Mitt Romney has a baseball card even though the closest he got to the Fenway Park [map] field is his box seats.
The once and possibly future Republican presidential contender sent an e-mail Monday timed to coincide with Opening Day for the Boston Red Sox [team stats]. Unfortunately for him and other fans, the game was postponed to Tuesday because of rain.
Romney is seeking donations to his political action committee, the Free and Strong America PAC.
A check for $25 gets donors the PAC’s official baseball card.
Donating $75 gets both the card and a red baseball hat.
Those contributing $250 get those items and a baseball autographed by the former Massachusetts governor.
Romney and his sons share choice seats that place them in the television background for all right-handed hitters.
"Romney details immigration stance"
The Boston Globe, Letters, April 14, 2009
CONTRARY TO Joan Vennochi's assertion in her April 9 Op-ed column "GOP cools on a hot-button issue," my view on immigration reform is exactly as I described in my 2008 campaign.
First, illegal immigration should be eliminated by securing the border, creating an immigration identification card, and establishing an employment verification system and penalties for noncompliance. Those who have come here illegally should be able to apply for residency, but their application should be given no advantage relative to those who have remained in their home countries.
Second, the legal immigration process should be simplified, and our immigration policies should favor applicants with skills and education. I oppose the McCain-Kennedy bill because it allows virtually all illegal immigrants to permanently remain in the United States.
Readers' Comments - link:
The Boston Globe, Op-Ed
"GOP cools on a hot-button issue"
By Joan Vennochi, Boston Globe Columnist, April 9, 2009
THOSE OLD Republican hot buttons are growing cold. For proof, check out a recent interview with Mitt Romney, a former presidential candidate and ex-governor of Massachusetts.
According to TheHill.com, a congressional newspaper that publishes when Congress is in session, "Romney believes that one way to attract more minorities to the GOP is to pass immigration reform before the next election, saying the issue becomes demagogued by both parties on the campaign trail." The article also quotes Romney as saying, "We have a natural affinity with Hispanic-American voters, Asian-American voters."
This could be extreme political repositioning, even for Romney.
As governor of a blue state, he once said he favored a sensible path to citizenship. Then came the 2008 presidential campaign. During primary season, Romney hammered - you could say demagogued - rivals like John McCain, Rudy Giuliani, and Mike Huckabee for being soft on illegal immigrants. As a national candidate, he embraced a ship-them-back-home, tough-guy approach, even after the Globe reported that he employed a landscaping company that relied on illegal Guatemalan immigrants to care for his own lawn. When US Representative Tom Tancredo of Colorado - who made a tough stand on illegal immigrants the centerpiece of his presidential campaign - dropped out of the race, he endorsed Romney.
How Romney gets beyond the flip-flop-flips of his multiple-choice positions on immigration and other issues is a mystery only he can solve.
But any edging back to a call for immigration reform illustrates a larger point. Scapegoating immigrants was a losing strategy for Republicans in the 2008 presidential campaign; and Romney doesn't see it as a winning strategy in 2012.
"When you have someone like Romney publicly competing for the Latino vote, we have a game," said Ali Noorani, the executive director of the National Immigration Forum. "When both parties are competing for the same constituency, then we have a chance to change the immigration system."
Immigration reform remains a complicated and emotion-laden issue, as illustrated by the recent case involving Zeituni Onyango, an aunt of President Obama. An immigration judge in Boston delayed a decision on Onyango's appeal for permanent residency in the United States until February 2010. She was ordered deported in 2004 but continued to live in public housing in South Boston.
Obama has said he did not know of his aunt's illegal status and pledged to stay out of her case, which aroused the usual heated talk from the usual talk-radio suspects.
The administration is adding immigration and customs agents to the border to help curb the flow of arms and cash in Mexico. New policy on raids of employers of illegal immigration is also said to be underway.
As a candidate, Obama supported immigration reform and a path to citizenship for the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants already in the country. But he is not immune from pressure from the anti-immigration crowd, especially in an economic downturn that puts so many citizen jobs at risk. The Obama administration recently pulled back from nominating Thomas Saenz, a civil rights lawyer and counsel to the mayor of Los Angeles, to run the Justice Department's civil rights division. The retreat on Saenz was a victory for anti-immigration groups, which opposed him because he led the successful fight to block a California ballot question that would have denied social services and schooling to illegal immigrants.
While Obama flinches on one side of the immigration debate, ambitious Republicans like Romney search for new middle ground. Stark numbers explain the refashioned political compass.
Four years ago, George W. Bush won reelection with 40 percent of the Hispanic vote. Bush's ability to achieve that high-water mark of support was attributed to his embrace of immigration reform, despite pushback from his party's conservative base and some Democratic swing voters.
In 2008, Obama won the Hispanic vote, 68 percent to 31 percent. In battleground states like Florida, the shift to the Democrat provided the margin of victory.
Romney was never subtle about trying to catch the next wave. On immigration, he and the GOP were left high and dry.
Joan Vennochi can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
"Wrongful termination case against Mitt Romney begins"
By Amy Amatangelo, Monday, April 20, 2009 - www.bostonherald.com - Local Politics
BOSTON — A lawsuit alleging that former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and his staff unfairly ran an appointee out of office is getting under way in federal court.
William Monahan says he was ordered to resign in 2003 less than a month after becoming chairman of the Massachusetts Civil Service Commission. He said Romney’s staff found out The Boston Globe was going to publish a story about a real estate deal between Monahan and a former Mafia boss.
The bench trial begins Monday. Romney is expected to testify at a later date.
Monahan said he refused to resign but Romney appointed a new chairman in November 2003 without giving him a proper hearing. The Romney administration has maintained Monahan did officially resign.
The lawsuit defendants have denied Monahan’s claims. A Romney spokesman declined comment Monday.
"Wrongful termination suit puts Mitt Romney in hot seat"
By Laurel J. Sweet, Monday, April 20, 2009, www.bostonherald.com - Local Politics
Republican presidential also-ran Mitt Romney returns to the spotlight today to defend himself against a former high-ranking appointee’s allegation he was run off by the image-conscious pol for his “arm’s-length” connection to the Mafia.
“You’ve got to protect the governor; you’ve got to take one for the team. You’ve got to resign,” former state Civil Service Commission chairman William Monahan claims then-Gov. Romney’s deputy chief of staff Spencer Zwick told him in 2003.
Monahan’s federal wrongful termination suit against Romney and several of his former trusted State House staffers goes to a bench trial today before U.S. District Court Judge Nancy Gertner. Romney is scheduled to testify, though it was unclear when.
Monahan, 75, of Belmont, who took over as head of the Civil Service Commission on Aug. 1, 2003, alleges he was ordered to resign less than a month later after the governor’s office learned the Boston Globe was going to report he and a business partner had purchased a Theater District bar in 1980 with a $180,000 loan from then New England mob underboss Gennaro Angiulo.
“Bill, I don’t want to do this, and I don’t agree with them, but my senior staff is unanimous that I have to ask for your resignation,” the civil action alleges Romney told Monahan in a phone call.
Romney’s spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom is accused of fretting to Monahan, “This is the Bulger story all over again.”
Former Senate President William Bulger is the brother of fugitive South Boston crime lord and serial killer James “Whitey” Bulger.
Monahan claims he refused to resign, but was nevertheless replaced in November 2003 by Romney appointee John Guerin.
Mitt Romney’s Belmont home has been sold for $3.5 million. Photo by Matt Stone (file)
"Mitt Romney’s Belmont manse sold for $3.5M"
By The Inside Track, Wednesday, April 22, 2009, www.bostonherald.com
Former Gov. Mitt Romney and wife, Ann, are this close from bailing from the Bay State.
Ann, the former First Lady of the Commonwealth, sold the family’s six-bedroom Belmont manse for $3.5 million earlier this month to Brigham & Women’s Hospital doc Li Chai. Mitt’s missus was the registered owner of the haute homestead.
As we told you two weeks ago, the Belmont buzz was that Red Sox [team stats] captain Jason Varitek [stats] had bought the Marsh Street manse, but both ’Tek’s people and a Romney spokesman denied the deal.
Dr. Chai, the associate director of Adult Transfusion Medicine at the Brigham, wouldn’t comment when queried by the Belmont Citizen-Herald which broke the news today.
The home, around 6,400 square feet, sits on 2.5 acres of land. There are six bedrooms, six full baths and one half-bath, a heated pool, clay tennis court, large wooden porch, attached garage and central air conditioning.
"Mitt Romney hops to settle case out of court"
By Laurel J. Sweet, Tuesday, April 21, 2009, www.bostonherald.com - Local Politics
Mitt Romney apparently is not eager to add “federal witness” in a mob-related trial to his resume.
The ex-governor and Republican presidential nominee runner-up’s lawyers spent three hours in mediation with lawyers for a former state Civil Service Commission chairman who is suing him for wrongful termination over a long-ago real estate deal with the Mafia. The two parties are trying to settle the case out of court - and out of the public eye.
U.S. District Court Judge Nancy Gertner is giving the adversaries one more hour this morning to resolve their differences or a bench trial will commence at 9 a.m.
If the case goes to trial, Romney, 62, will be called to testify about statements Monahan alleges the former governor made in August 2003, demanding Monahan’s resignation because the then-governor’s staff feared how a $180,000 loan Monahan borrowed from one-time New England Mafia underboss Gennaro Angiulo 23 years earlier to buy a downtown bar would reflect on Romney’s political image, according to Monahan’s suit.
“Bill, I don’t want to do this, and I don’t agree with them, but my senior staff is unanimous that I have to ask for your resignation,” Monahan alleges Romney told him in a phone call from the road.
Monahan, 75, of Belmont, insists he never resigned, but was replaced nevertheless. His attorney Richard Hayes yesterday declined comment.
The same summer Monahan argues he was unjustly humiliated, Romney succeeded in pressuring former Senate President William Bulger to resign as president of the University of Massachusetts. Romney was highly critical of Bulger because his brother is FBI Most Wanted crime lord and serial killer James “Whitey” Bulger.
Romney’s attorney Bryan Diederich could not immediately be reached for comment last night.
"Mitt Romney suit plaintiff breaks down"
By Laurel J. Sweet, Wednesday, April 22, 2009, www.bostonherald.com - Local Politics
A retired attorney who claims he was the casualty of a public-relations “conspiracy” by former Gov. Mitt Romney tearfully testified yesterday how the two men were once good neighbors in Belmont whose kids played together.
But when the future White House-hopeful told William Monahan in 2003 he had to resign as chairman of the state Civil Service Commission after less than a month on the job, because of a past real estate deal with a New England Mafia underboss, Monahan, now 75, said his world crumbled.
“Mr. Monahan was dumbfounded,” his attorney, Richard Hayes, told U.S. District Court Judge Nancy Gertner at the start of Monahan’s wrongful-termination trial. Hayes said Monahan became a “depressed, despondent” recluse.
Romney, 62, who was an unsuccessful GOP candidate for president last year, is expected to take the witness stand in his defense later this week, attorney Robert Jones said.
Monahan insists he never agreed to resign, despite the “hostile” way he said he was treated by Romney staffers on Aug. 28, 2003, upon learning the Boston Globe was going to report he and a business partner had bought a Theater District bar in 1980 from a real estate firm owned by organized crime chieftain Gennaro Angiulo.
Jones told Gertner that Monahan never disclosed this on his job application as a potential conflict and Romney’s office indeed found the “connection” to the mob “intolerable.”
“The governor concluded it would be appropriate . . . to ask for and accept Mr. Monahan’s resignation,” Jones said.
Monahan said he sought the civil service post because he’d had a quintuple bypass “and thought I should do something less stressful” that might bring “a decent pension.”
He testified “there were no conflicts,” and noted the real estate deal was reported by a Belmont paper a decade earlier when he ran for state representative.
When confronted by Romney staff about the Globe story, Monahan testified, “My response was, ‘Oh no, not this again.’ ” He said he had to relive the “vile accusations” that he was a Mafia associate.
"Romney concentrating on book, not 2012"
By Shelley Murphy, Boston Globe Staff, The Boston Globe Online, April 23, 2009
Former governor Mitt Romney dodged a question today about whether he plans to run for president again in 2012.
"That consideration is well down the road," Romney said as he left federal court after testifying in a wrongful termination lawsuit brought by former state civil service commissioner William P. Monahan.
The former Republican governor said he is concentrating on a book about the "challenges America faces and what we need to do to get back on track." Romney said he has completed two-thirds of the writing and expects the book to be published next year.
(AP/David L. Ryan, Globe Staff)
Former state Civil Service commissioner William P. Monahan (left) filed a wrongful termination lawsuit against former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney.
By Shelley Murphy, Boston Globe Staff, April 23, 2009
Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney appeared in federal court today and calmly defended his decision to seek the resignation in 2003 of the state civil service commissioner because of a decades-old real estate deal with a Boston mafioso.
The credibility of the former commissioner, William P. Monahan, had been severely undermined, Romney said, by news that he had bought property on Tremont Street in 1980 from New England mafia underboss Gennaro "Jerry" Angiulo.
"Had I known about it, I wouldn't have appointed him in the first place," Romney said.
While the governor said he initially hoped that Monahan would be able to keep his position, Romney said his staff helped convince him that his continued service on the commission "would not be appropriate." Romney likened the civil service commissioner to a judge and testified that news of the real estate deal with a mafia figure undermined Monahan's credibility.
Monahan has sued Romney and four members of his administration, alleging that he was wrongly terminated and defamed without due process. Monahan, a longtime Romney supporter, contends that he never had the opportunity to defend himself and never agreed to resign.
Romney testified today that he spoke to Monahan after he had agreed to leave his post.
"I called Mr. Monahan to express my sympathy for the circumstances and my appreciation for him having resigned," Romney said, adding, "He's a person I like and respect. I knew this would be difficult for him. I felt [the state civil service commission] was a good opportunity for him and now it came to naught."
Romney testified that he offered to help Monahan find a job in the private sector and noted that during the telephone conversation he never indicated that he was unwilling to resign. The governor has known Monahan since the 1970s, when Monahan served as a selectman in Belmont, where Romney lived with his family.
Under cross-examination, attorney Richard Hayes grilled Romney about why he didn't personally call Monahan to ask him to resign and why he left it for his staff to do. Hayes accused Romney of putting Monahan in a difficult position.
"No," Romney responded. "A difficult position brought on by himself."
"Romney spokesman sidesteps residency question"
boston.com - Associated Press - May 7, 2009
BOSTON --Mitt Romney's spokesman is sidestepping questions about where the former Massachusetts governor will claim residency now that he's sold his home in suburban Belmont.
Spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom said Thursday he has "nothing new to report" about whether Romney will continue to claim Massachusetts residency or perhaps claim his vacation home in Wolfeboro, N.H., as his primary residence for tax and voting purposes.
The 2008 Republican presidential contender has a house overlooking Lake Winnipesaukee.
Fehrnstrom says Romney sold his Massachusetts home two weeks ago and has since been living with his son Tagg.
The former governor also recently sold a ski house near Park City, Utah, leaving him with the New Hampshire house and another in La Jolla, California.
WILLARD Mitt Romney spoke at the National Rifle Association meeting yesterday in Phoenix. The former Massachusetts governor said the United States is more vulnerable to terrorist attacks. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
"[WILLARD Mitt] Romney says US is less safe now: Criticizes Obama in speech to NRA"
By Sasha Issenberg, Boston Globe Correspondent, May 16, 2009
PHOENIX - Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney joined Bush administration officials, including the former vice president, Dick Cheney, yesterday in arguing that President Obama's approach to combating terrorism had left the country less safe.
"It's the very kind of thinking that left America vulnerable to the attacks of Sept. 11th," Romney told the National Rifle Association's annual gathering. "And the approval of left-wing law professors and editorial boards won't be worth much if this country lets down its guard and suffers an attack."
Even while declaring an end to interrogation practices he calls "torture," Obama has alienated many in his own party with a cautious approach to the issue. He has rebuffed calls to investigate Bush administration policymakers and release photographs that military leaders have said would be unnecessarily provocative.
Yesterday, the White House announced it would resume the use of military commissions to try those in American custody, a practice that Obama had criticized as a candidate.
"I'm glad he's continuing to hold military tribunals for terrorists," said Romney, who also said he approved of Obama's hawkish approach to ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. "In fact, whenever he adopts the policies of John McCain and George W. Bush like this, I'm glad."
Romney, who ran for president in 2008, was the closing speaker on an agenda that included Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele and McCain, last year's Republican presidential nominee. The stop was Romney's latest on a circuit of conservative interest groups that many Republicans see as the opening lap in a prospective 2012 campaign.
Despite Romney's solidarity with their priorities, gun owners were slow to rally behind him as a candidate. Romney joined the National Rifle Association only shortly before becoming a national candidate and did not own a gun. He reluctantly acknowledged that he had only been hunting twice in his life and had focused on prey such as rodents and rabbits. "Small varmints, if you will," he said then.
Yesterday Romney was warmly received as he paid tribute to gun rights. Most of his speech, however, was devoted to the day's broadest critique of a Democratic agenda he said amounted to "the greatest federal power-grab in American history."
Romney took issue with Obama's plans to change the healthcare system, which is based partially on the plan Romney helped enact in Massachusetts: mandating that citizens carry insurance.
"The best path to healthcare reform is to let the American people make their own decisions, not have those decisions forced on them by government," Romney said. "Let Washington choose the stamps for the Post Office, but let the American people choose who we want for our doctor."
Posted during mid-May of 2009.
A Boston Globe Editorial: Short Fuse - May 24, 2009
"Romney: Do as I say (today)"
As he demonstrated in his 2008 presidential campaign, Mitt Romney is as variable as the New England weather. Still, Romney positively outdid himself last week. Speaking at a National Rifle Association forum, he blasted President Obama's healthcare plans - proposals that look a good deal like the Massachusetts coverage law Romney helped bring about. But it gets stranger still. "The best path to healthcare reform is to let the American people make their own decisions, not have those decisions forced on them by government," proclaimed the perpetual candidate. This even though Romney's most important contribution to the state's landmark law was his call for an individual mandate - that is, a government-enforced requirement that everyone buy health insurance.
"Romney keeps raising profile"
boston.com - Posted by Foon Rhee, deputy national political editor, May 29, 2009
Ask Mitt Romney about his presidential ambitions, and he artfully demurs.
But his schedule keeps looking like that of someone who has his eyes on 2012.
The former Massachusetts governor, who sought the GOP nomination last year, is to be the keynote speaker tonight at the Virginia Republican Party's big Commonwealth Gala dinner in Richmond. That is his latest appearance before the party faithful.
Sunday, Romney is scheduled to make his latest appearance on a political talk show, on Fox News Sunday.
And on Monday morning, he is scheduled to give a major policy speech on national security at the high-profile Heritage Foundation in Washington. This is his latest foray into critiquing President Obama on a wide range of issues, including domestic and economic policy.
Romney's sold-out speech, titled "The Care of Freedom," is to kick off Heritage's "Protect America Month."
"This past Monday after North Korea’s nuclear and missile tests, President Barack Obama said, 'North Korea is directly and recklessly challenging the international community' and warranted action by the international community," Heritage's announcement said. "Next Monday, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney will deliver an address at the Navy Memorial Burke Theater assessing the Obama administration’s response to Pyongyang and America’s larger leadership role in the world."
"NH artist completes work on Romney portrait"
By Associated Press, Thursday, May 28, 2009, www.bostonherald.com - Local Politics
BOSTON — A New Hampshire artist has completed work on Mitt Romney’s gubernatorial portrait.
Romney spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom says the painting will be unveiled June 30 during an evening ceremony on the Grand Staircase of the Statehouse.
The portrait was painted by Richard Whitney for $30,000 in private donations. Whitney is known for his realistic paintings and has previously painted Virginia Sen. Jim Webb and former Labor Secretary Robert Reich.
By tradition, the portrait will hang in the lobby of the Governor’s Office. Its placement will force the removal of the portrait of former Gov. John Volpe, with whom Romney’s father, George, once served in the Cabinet of President Richard Nixon.
Volpe’s portrait will now hang in the Statehouse halls.
A BOSTON GLOBE EDITORIAL: Short Fuse - Sunday, June 7, 2009
"Romney: His future is over the rainbow"
Is Mitt Romney running for president again? The answer seems obvious, at least to those schooled in Mitt Speak. Interviewed this week on NBC, Romney portrayed his high-profile activities as naught but Republican Party building, saying that "what happens down the road, well, it's a very distant horizon." Now recall the 2005 press conference when Romney announced he wouldn't seek a second term as governor. Here's what he said back then about a 2008 presidential run: "[I]t's in a galaxy far, far away." And as for all the political trips he had taken around the country? Simple party-building affairs, he said.
"Campaign 2012: Romney stays unscathed"
Boston.com - Posted by Foon Rhee, deputy national political editor, July 1, 2009
Maybe Mitt Romney should look warily over his shoulder, lest a political calamity befall him, too.
Continuing President Obama's political good fortune, a growing list of possible Republican opponents in 2012 is falling by the wayside, often due to self-inflicted wounds.
Two weeks ago, Senator John Ensign of Nevada admitted a messy extramarital affair with a former campaign staffer, likely taking himself out of the running.
This week, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin took more hits in a scathing piece in Vanity Fair magazine in which unnamed aides to Senator John McCain, who picked her as the GOP vice presidential nominee last year, basically said she was not ready for prime time.
And, of course, South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford keeps digging his political grave deeper and deeper, confessing on Tuesday to indiscretions with women other than his Argentinian mistress, whom he called his soul mate.
Romney, the former Massachusetts governor who ran last year for the Republican nomination, has kept himself largely unscathed since Obama took office, even as he has kept himself omnipresent on cable TV. He has continued raising money for fellow Republicans, collecting chits along the way. He has burnished his foreign policy credentials, his weak area last year. In an attention-grabbing speech last month, he assailed Obama's national security strategy, asserting that the president is endangering America and unnecessarily apologizing on the country's behalf.
As the Republican field opens up before him, Romney's continuing strength could help explain why Democratic groups criticize him at every opportunity, often reviving the accusation that he will flip-flop on issues when to his political advantage.
A Boston Globe Editorial: Short Fuse - July 5, 2009
"Romney: A portrait in political caution"
Pictured in Mitt Romney’s gubernatorial portrait is the landmark healthcare legislation he helped enact. But the former governor is so leery of embracing the type of individual mandate Massachusetts has that he is verbally amending the law. “The term mandate means different things to different people,’’ he said after Tuesday’s unveiling ceremony. “We had a financial incentive for people to get insurance.’’ Actually, we have a legal requirement that those who can afford it carry insurance - and a tax penalty if they don’t. So though Romney says it’s too soon to contemplate a second presidential campaign, he’s already busy splitting hairs.
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and his wife, Ann at the unveiling of his official portrait at the State House, June 30, 2009. (File) Photo by AP
"Romney reports raising $1.6 million so far in 2009"
By Associated Press, Thursday, July 16, 2009, www.bostonherald.com - U.S. Politics
BOSTON — Mitt Romney’s works shows he’s thinking about another run for president.
The Massachusetts Republican raised $1.6 million for his Free and Strong America PAC during the first six months of the year.
A report released Thursday also showed him seeding more than $63,000 to state and federal candidates — many in key presidential electoral areas.
He gave the maximum $6,800 donation to New Jersey gubernatorial candidate Chris Christie, as well as $5,000 to the campaign committee of South Carolina Republican Sen. Jim DeMint.
And he gave $10,000 to the New Hampshire Republican Party.
Romney’s activity exceeds that of most potential 2012 candidates. And the donations answer criticism he was using the PAC mostly for his personal benefit, not that of like-minded politicians.
"Romney's PAC brings in $1.6 million in 2009"
Boston.com Political Intelligence, Posted by Foon Rhee, deputy national political editor, July 16, 2009
Mitt Romney's political action committee reported today that it raised $1.6 million in the first six months this year, and it handed out $74,274 to state and federal candidates, leaving it with more than $840,000 in the till.
Romney's Free and Strong America PAC, which helps Republican candidates, is the former Massachusetts governor's vehicle to collect chits as he contemplates a possible second presidential bid in 2012.
Among the beneficiaries: $5,000 each from the PAC went to Senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina, Representative Eric Cantor of Virginia, Representative Roy Blunt who is running for US Senate in Missouri, and Jim Tedisco, who lost a close race in a special election in an upstate New York congressional district. It also contributed $1,000 each to the “Undaunted Dozen,” a group of House Republicans targeted by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee for their votes against the $787 billion economic stimulus bill.
Romney's PAC contributed the maximum $6,800 to Republican Chris Christie’s New Jersey gubernatorial campaign. Today, President Obama is headed to New Jersey to raise money for Democratic Governor Jon Corzine.
And even though it's very early, Romney leads the Republican field for 2012 in a new Gallup Poll out today.
Among Republicans and GOP-leaning independents surveyed July 10-12, Romney gets the support of 26 percent, compared to 21 percent for Sarah Palin, the Republican vice presidential nominee last year who is resigning as Alaska governor at month's end. Palin's PAC brought in about $733,000 during the first six months of 2009.
Mike Huckabee, who like Romney lost to Senator John McCain for the nomination last year, comes in third at 19 percent, followed by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich at 14 percent.
But thanks to high name recognition, Palin leads in favorable ratings with 72 percent, compared to 59 percent for Huckabee and 56 percent for Romney.
"Though it is little over a year since the 2008 GOP primaries, Americans' opinions of Romney and Huckabee have changed significantly. Notably, each seems to have lost a significant share of the public familiarity he built up during the campaign. There has been a double-digit increase in the percentage of Americans who do not express either a positive or a negative opinion of both Romney and Huckabee," Gallup says.
"Gallup: Romney Has A '12 Edge"
hotlineoncall.nationaljournal.com - July 16, 2009
Add to Mitt Romney's solid PAC fundraising numbers this new poll from Gallup showing that he leads a hypothetical field of '12 contenders.
"Free And Strong And Flush"
hotlineoncall.nationaljournal.com - July 16, 2009
Mitt Romney's Free and Strong America PAC reported raising $1.6M in the first six months of '09. Contributions to state and federal candidates in this off-election year totaled $74,274, according to a release.
The PAC started this year with $337,976 in the bank. After expenditures, the PAC ended June with $841,568 in CoH.
The federal PAC's contributions include: $5K each to Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC), House GOP Whip Eric Cantor, Rep. Roy Blunt (R-MO) who is running for SEN, and Jim Tedisco who ran unsuccessfully in the NY-20 special election earlier this year.
The PAC also contributed $1K each to the "Undaunted Dozen," a group of House GOPers targeted by the DCCC for their votes against the economic stimulus bill.
Romney's group gave $6,800 to Chris Christie's (R) NJ GOV campaign, and $5K each to VA GOV candidate Bob McDonnell (R), VA LG Bill Bolling (R), VA AG candidate Ken Cuccinelli (R), and VA House of Delegates candidate Barbara Comstock, a very visible Romney surrogate during the WH'08 campaign.
So Romney has raised more than twice that of AK Gov. Sarah Palin (R) -- who raised $733K -- from the start of this year. And his efforts to seed campaigns in VA and NJ, the headline contests of '09, illustrate his interest in wooing officeholders and activists as he keeps the fires burning for '12. Romney's team might like to downplay his interest in another WH bid, but his active speech and appearances schedule and fundraising and gifting efforts indicate otherwise. And with other top GOP WH contenders self-destructing, Romney is emerging as the party's most sensible, experienced, responsible and business-friendly contender.
But then again, three years is a very, very long time.
"Romney To Visit Nebraska For Party Fundraiser"
The Associated Press, email@example.com - July 21, 2009
Omaha, NE -- Former Massachusetts governor and 2008 presidential candidate Mitt Romney will speak this fall at a Nebraska Republican Party fundraiser.
Romney will be the guest speaker at the Nebraska GOP's biennial Founders' Day event on Oct. 9 in Omaha.
Nebraska Republican Party Chairman Mark Fahleson calls Romney a "man of immense professional and political gravitas."
The Massachusetts Republican will be planning another run at the presidency. He raised $1.6 million for his Free and Strong America PAC during the first six months of the year.
Founders' Day is a significant fundraiser for the organization and is held in appreciation of party activists and volunteers for their hard work to help candidates and the party.
"Romney, Pawlenty spar on healthcare"
Boston.com - Posted by Foon Rhee, deputy national political editor, August 3, 2009
Tim Pawlenty and Mitt Romney agree in their disdain for the healthcare overhaul plan Democrats and President Obama are trying to push through.
But they have been sparring in recent days over the right approach -- a preview, perhaps, of the 2012 Republican presidential sweepstakes.
The Minnesota governor and former Massachusetts governor, who were both on Senator John McCain's short list for vice president last year, both appear to be laying the groundwork for possible 2012 bids.
Pawlenty, in an opinion piece published in the Washington Post over the weekend and in a letter last week to Minnesota's congressional delegation, not surprisingly promoted his state's plan.
"In Minnesota, our state employee health-care plan has demonstrated incredible results by linking outcomes to value. State employees in Minnesota can choose any clinic available to them in the health-care network they've selected. However, individuals who use more costly and less-efficient clinics are required to pay more out-of-pocket," he wrote.
But more interestingly, he took some pointed swipes at the healthcare overhaul in Massachusetts, one of Romney's biggest accomplishments as governor, though he ran away from the parts most objectionable to conservatives during his presidential campaign.
"Massachusetts's experience should caution Congress against focusing primarily on access. While the Massachusetts plan has reduced the number of uninsured people, costs have been dramatically higher than expected. The result? Increased taxes and fees. The Boston Globe has reported on a current short-term funding gap and the need to obtain a new federal bailout," Pawlenty wrote in the Post. "Imagine the scope of tax increases, or additional deficit spending, if that approach is utilized for the entire country."
Romney, in an op-ed piece in USA Today, even as he accused Obama from rushing through a bad plan, defended the Massachusetts plan against Pawlenty's critique.
"Massachusetts also proved that you don't need government insurance. Our citizens purchase private, free-market medical insurance. There is no "public option." With more than 1,300 health insurance companies, a federal government insurance company isn't necessary. It would inevitably lead to massive taxpayer subsidies, to lobbyist-inspired coverage mandates and to the liberals' dream: a European-style single-payer system. To find common ground with skeptical Republicans and conservative Democrats, the president will have to jettison left-wing ideology for practicality and dump the public option," Romney wrote.
"When our bill passed three years ago, the legislature projected that our program would cost $725 million in 2009. At $723 million, next year's forecast is pretty much on target. When you calculate all the savings, including that from the free hospital care we eliminated, the net cost to the state is approximately $350 million. The watchdog Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation concluded that our program's cost is 'relatively modest' and 'well within initial projections.' "
Campaign 2012: "Romney has book deal"
Boston.com - Posted by Foon Rhee, deputy national political editor, August 5, 2009
Mitt Romney has inked a book deal with St. Martin's Press, and it seems to outline a campaign manifesto for a possible 2012 presidential bid, the New York Times is reporting today.
Titled “No Apology: The Case for American Greatness,” the book includes the former Massachusetts governor's views on the economy, military, education, healthcare, and energy, as well as his prescriptions for strengthening the family and citizenship.
The book is to be published in March 2010, just as the mid-term election campaign revs up. It is not unusual for national politicians to write such books in advance of campaigns. Romney, who sought the Republican presidential nomination last year, is also a frequent contributor and commentator in newspapers and cable TV shows and has a political action committee to help Republican candidates.
"Mitt Romney: Liberals given too much say in health care"
By Associated Press, Thursday, August 20, 2009, www.bostonherald.com - U.S. Politics
WASHINGTON — Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney says President Barack Obama is struggling to get a health care bill because he has been too deferential to the liberal wing of his party.
Interviewed from Boston Thursday on CBS’s "The Early Show," Romney said he thinks the president must shoulder the blame for the gridlocked situation surrounding health care legislation. He said Obama gave too much influence to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and others.
Romney said that "if the president wants to get something done, he needs to put aside the extreme liberal wing of his party." Romney, who ran for the Republican presidential nod last year, said Medicare and Medicaid already account for virtually half of health care and there shouldn’t be any greater federal role.
"Romney not interested in Kennedy seat"
Posted by Foon Rhee, deputy national political editor, Boston.com - Political Intelligence, August 27, 2009
If there were any doubt, Mitt Romney is not interested in running in the special election for Senator Edward M. Kennedy's seat.
Politico reported this afternoon that Romney's spokesman ruled out a candidacy by the former governor, who went up against Kennedy in 1994 and who ran for president last year.
"Gov. Romney’s focus right now is on helping other Republicans run for office, and that is how he will be spending his time,” spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom told Politico.
While campaigning for other Republicans, Romney is also laying the groundwork for a possible second presidential bid in 2012.
(Photograph by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
(Jim Davis/Globe Staff)
"The Long-Distance Runner: While other 2012 Republican presidential hopefuls crash, burn, and sputter, Mitt Romney has quietly been raising millions, casting himself as a New Hampshire son, keeping cozy with the NRA, and otherwise perfecting his Mr. Perfect approach."
By Sasha Issenberg, The Boston Globe, August 30, 2009
Just before Thanksgiving last year, a group of former aides to Mitt Romney convened at his salmon-colored Belmont home, many of them gathering for the first time since Romney had disbanded his presidential campaign some nine months before. Romney had invited them for a post-mortem of the election weeks earlier, the type of dispassionate assessment that the Harvard Business School alumnus so enjoyed. But over cookies, they found few of the metrics for success that Romney prized -- Republicans had been decisively thumped at all levels -- and his attention shifted from 2008 to the future.
“He was not bringing people together to second-guess,” says Alex Gage, a former campaign strategist who continues to informally advise Romney. “It was not a lot of retrospectives or recriminations or mistakes. I think in his mind he’s thought it through.”
Romney was encouraged by the contents of a fat three-ring binder he brandished for his guests. He leafed through the pages to show dozens of thank you notes and photos -- from Republican candidates for whom Romney had campaigned and raised money around the country -- and passed the binder around his living room so that each of his advisers could linger over it. “He just talked about all the friends he made and people he met along the way,” recalls Kevin Madden, who had been Romney’s campaign spokesman. “The idea was: It’s not for nothing. We were actually helping people. Take a look at how thankful they were.”
During his long presidential campaign, Romney -- the reformed Massachusetts moderate with the salesman’s too-perfect touch -- had struggled to earn a welcome into a conservative movement whose members were often suspicious of his motives. The plastic sleeves in the binder held the good news to emerge from his experience trying to win them over: typed or handwritten confirmation that hard work and collegiality meant something in politics.
People who asked Romney what he would do once his presidential campaign was over say the former businessman and one-term Massachusetts governor did not flinch: He wanted to keep his hand in politics. For more than a year, Romney has done so with the same competitiveness and discipline that has marked nearly every challenge he has taken on in his life, from his foreign assignment as a Mormon missionary and career as a management consultant and founder of Bain Capital to his stewardship of the Salt Lake City Olympics and campaigns for senator, governor, and president.
“He lost a tough race,” says New Hampshire state Senator Jeb Bradley, a Republican and former US congressman. “After that, Mitt could have done anything he wanted with his life: back to the nonprofit world or start a new business. But what has he been doing? He’s kept at it. He’s been busting his butt since losing more than anyone I have ever seen.”
Romney’s has been the metabolism of a candidate-in-waiting, one who started paying attention to his long-term interests even before he withdrew from the primaries. Over the last year, as his fellow Republicans made career-crippling moves or drifted toward irrelevance, Romney’s meticulous approach has left him not only the default front-runner for the party’s 2012 nomination but one of the only stable forces the GOP has left. The six-person operation that Romney built over the last year in a Lexington office complex -- under the flag of his Free and Strong America political action committee -- may qualify as the closest thing there is to a durable Republican infrastructure in the Obama era.
“We realized by last year Mitt Romney was one of the family,” David Keene, the head of the American Conservative Union, said in February when he presented Romney to the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), the movement’s largest annual gathering. “He is more important to us today than he was last year.”
When Mitt Romney strode onstage just past noon on Thursday, February 7, 2008, many of those attending CPAC did not know that he was no longer a candidate for president. The basement of Washington’s Omni Shoreham hotel is deep out of cellphone range, and so the news that had popped up on blogs 20 minutes earlier -- that Romney would use his speech to withdraw -- barely moved the ballroom, then featuring a panel discussion on books by Barry Goldwater, Russell Kirk, and Ayn Rand. “Mitt! Mitt! Mitt! Mitt!” the crowd cheered upon Romney’s arrival.
The day before, Romney had gathered his senior staff in a conference room in his Boston headquarters to assess his options after Super Tuesday. He had carried all but one of the day’s caucus states, evidence that he had at long last won over conservative activists. But, with the exception of Massachusetts, he had lost the big-population states -- California, New York, Illinois, New Jersey -- which gave their delegates to John McCain, and whose demographics augured poorly for Romney’s ability to build a broad base of support.
Romney enjoys watching debates play out in front of him, and he invited aides to make the case for fighting on. Even another month as a candidate could help Romney establish a national constituency as an alternative to McCain and allow him to quit the race as undisputed runner-up in a party that has long recognized rank. (The Republican nominees in 1980, 1988, and 1996 had each finished second in the previous open primary season, as McCain had in 2000.) But Romney’s advisers were convinced that former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, who had tangled with Romney for the votes of social conservatives, would make his own bid for that role.
“Even under the rosiest scenario, it was hard to see how the data worked out,” says Phil Musser, a senior adviser who had by then left the campaign. “He was cleareyed about the math and what continuing meant for his wallet, in order to keep up a long fight with a slim chance of success.”
Romney ended the meeting and went home to Belmont to write a speech for CPAC, while a group of aides decamped, as they often did in the evenings, for burgers and beer at the North End’s Waterfront Cafe. Eventually spokesman Madden’s BlackBerry buzzed with a draft from Romney. Staying in the race, he had concluded, would only weaken McCain’s prospects against Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton. “In this time of war, I simply cannot let my campaign be a part of aiding a surrender to terror,” Romney had written.
Romney returned to his office the following week in a T-shirt and jeans, ready to travel to his California home. From there, Romney’s staff informed McCain’s, he would be willing to travel to Arizona for a formal endorsement ceremony. But McCain’s camp volunteered their candidate, campaigning that day in Rhode Island, for an immediate photo op in Boston. Romney wavered about doing it so quickly -- he held a ticket for a middle seat on a JetBlue flight later that day and hesitated about paying the cancellation fee -- but was flattered that McCain would show deference and come to him. Hours later, after postponing his flight and changing into a suit, Romney met with McCain privately for 15 minutes and asked what he could do. McCain made a standard request: He entreated Romney to campaign for him and other Republican candidates. Then the two walked out in front of an American flag and made it official.
It was an early indication that Romney’s long-term strategy would be undiverted by the grudges and pique that often endure among rivals. When McCain found himself in a similar scenario against George W. Bush eight years earlier, he had prolonged the end of his flailing campaign, projected a visible discomfort when he finally endorsed, and participated in a “shadow convention” that drew attention away from Bush’s nomination. Romney decided to be a good soldier.
“That we just put down to him being smart,” says Mark Salter, a McCain adviser who was among Romney’s most vehement detractors during the primaries. “He got out and then graciously said, ‘Put me to work.’ And I don’t think he turned down anything we asked him to do.”
On Friday, May 15, 2009, Romney walked to the podium at the US Airways Center in Phoenix, clasping a brown leather folder under his arm and using the other to wave at the 5,000 members of the National Rifle Association who had gathered for an afternoon of political speeches at the group’s annual convention. “I’ve noticed that the farther west I go, the bigger these NRA meetings get,” Romney told the crowd. “I have to say, the Boston chapter is a little on the small side these days.”
With nearly metronomic precision, Romney seems to emerge monthly from the cuckoo clock he has constructed for his exile. Each time, he delivers a speech with a carefully calibrated new critique of the Democratic regime, and then retreats back to a lower-profile schedule of fund-raisers, Op-Eds, and diligent networking among Republicans nationwide.
While Romney spent much of last year campaigning for other candidates, this year he turned his attention to what advisers acknowledge is the primary objective: financing his own political operations. In the first six months of the year, Romney’s PAC raised more than $1.6 million and spent most of it -- six times more than the committee gave away to other Republican candidates during the 2008 campaign. Much of the budget appears to have paid for salaries, consultant fees, and fund-raising expenses, including direct-mail printing, postage, and tens of thousands to the Romney for President campaign to acquire contributor lists. Romney is incubating a national organization ready to become a presidential campaign at a time when victory could cost $1 billion.
“He’s sensitive to that, and so he’s making smart and continuing investments in his own political infrastructure to keep his options open,” says Musser, the former adviser. “No one else is doing that today.”
Other potential Republican candidates have fought to earn a national profile, and most have stumbled from the overreach. Huckabee has launched a Fox News variety show and Alaska governor Sarah Palin abruptly quit her office midterm. Others trying to raise their profiles have made political enemies: Florida governor Charlie Crist outraged members of his own party by campaigning in favor of Obama’s stimulus bill, while Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal frustrated his state’s residents when he rejected a portion of the federal money. South Carolina governor Mark Sanford and US Senator John Ensign of Nevada were both forced into exposing comi-tragic dalliances.
Each misstep has been dutifully chronicled by the Democratic National Committee, which already has researchers documenting the follies of the opposition’s potential contenders. The only post-election Romney embarrassment Democratic operatives have uncovered for reporters was his swipe at Palin’s inclusion on Time’s list of most influential people. “Was that the issue on the most beautiful people or the most influential people?” Romney asked, joking that he was “not real cute” himself. But a Democratic memo to reporters announced that Romney had been on People’s Most Beautiful list in 2002.
Romney’s schedule is a testament to his measure and caution as he has worked to stay in front of crucial conservative constituencies and away from unnecessary squabbling on news shows. “He’s not a talking head, and he doesn’t want to be critic-in-chief,” says spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom. Romney turns down 95 percent of the media requests he receives and has refused to cooperate with what he calls “Romney-in-exile” profiles, including this one. “He is not a candidate, he is a private citizen,” says Fehrnstrom. “He does not want to invite or encourage speculation about 2012.”
Instead, the PAC’s project has been to position Romney as the thinking man of the Republican Party. (Here he faces competition from former House speaker Newt Gingrich, who has his own policy-oriented PAC and well-earned ties to the conservative establishment.) The material that has survived since the campaign is the stuff that presents Romney as a sage, full of geo-strategic concepts and a passel of rhetorical tricks to elucidate them: analogies and typologies and copious references to great-man figures and historical “inflection points.” At the National Rifle Association convention, Romney spoke only cursorily of gun issues, saving most of his energy for a schematic account of the “four strategies competing to lead the world in this century” and a comparison of modern-day liberals to “monarchists.”
Romney is hoping to crystallize this worldview in his second book, No Apology: The Case for American Greatness, which he has been writing, with a research assistant’s help, from a laptop at his Lexington office and on the beachside patio of his home near San Diego. (It will be published in March.) Those who have read parts of the book say not to expect any surprises, just a coherent synthesis of Romney’s views that will help demonstrate his seriousness to a broad audience.
Romney also seems to be quietly aligning with a faction of conservatives bidding a quiet farewell to the party’s overarching obsession with culture. Last summer, Romney met Virginia congressman Eric Cantor when the two were dispatched for a day of spokesman duties at the Democratic Convention in Denver. In November, Cantor was elected House minority whip and quickly invited Romney to address congressional Republicans when they gathered for their first post-election retreat. Now the two speak regularly by phone.
When Cantor unveiled his National Council for a New America, perhaps the most concerted of the efforts within the party to rebrand the Republican agenda, he had Romney by his side for the early May photo op. At a suburban Virginia pizzeria, Romney and former Florida governor Jeb Bush were perched on wooden stools as two of Cantor’s five “national experts”: a tableau of a smart, good-natured party in search of a common-sense future. The group’s founding documents promised “a conversation with America that seeks to remove ideological filters” on issues like health care, education, energy, national security, and economic issues. There was no mention of immigration, abortion, judges, or gay rights, and Republican leaders most popular with religious conservatives -- Palin and Huckabee, in particular -- were glaringly not included.
“He’s someone who is solutions-oriented. He’s about results, it’s about deliverables. He says: Let’s put a goal out there,” Cantor says of Romney. “So much of what our party needs right now is the respect that we can implement our conservative vision.”
As Romney advisers mined their 2008 experience for potential 2012 lessons, several rued the fact that he had been introduced nationally as an ideological purist and not as a businesslike pragmatist. Instead, his campaign focused too intently on winning over Iowa’s evangelical voters, for whom Romney’s Mormonism had likely been an insurmountable hurdle, aides concluded after the election. “If you’re looking for a mistake we made, we should have made [the campaign] more about competence,” says Ron Kaufman, a lobbyist and former White House official who advises Romney. “If a Republican can win in 2012, it will be because competence matters.”
Advisers say Romney can likely wait until after the 2010 midterm elections before deciding whether to run and beginning to build a formal campaign organization. (Romney officially announced his last candidacy in February 2007, although staff and strategy had been in place for months beforehand.) “He’ll have the greatest flexibility to wait and not do all these things, because he’s done it before,” says Kaufman.
“My sense is, if Romney runs for president again, he won’t have the same problems with the ideological purists and those skeptical of his faith, his past position on abortion or guns. All those issues have been largely placated by him proving himself as a committed team player,” says Musser. “My bet is you’d see Mr. Fix-It on full display.”
The grander challenge is whether Romney, a proud strategist of reinvention who called his first book Turnaround, can get away with such a stylistic makeover -- even if Romney’s heart is far more that of a technocrat than a true believer.
This spring, Romney sold his homes in Belmont and Utah, bringing his recession-era inventory of houses to two (in California and New Hampshire). But he may add another: He has started shopping for a condo in Boston. “He’s slowing down a bit, and realized he has more than he needed,” says Tagg Romney, who now hosts his parents in a kitchenette-equipped guest room at his own Belmont home when Mitt and Ann need a place to sleep in Boston. (Romney’s staff is still struggling to capture the language of residential austerity: Fehrnstrom talks of “opening up the house” on New Hampshire’s Lake Winnipesaukee for summer as though it were a weeks-long activity.) The property shift sets Romney up to claim home-field advantage in New Hampshire, a state he needs to win. But Romney will remain registered to vote in Massachusetts, Fehrnstrom says.
When he geared up to run the last time, Romney went to Iowa and bivouacked there for much of 2007. Romney advisers are already beginning to see New Hampshire as a stronger base from which to launch the early days of a 2012 candidacy; when Romney volunteered to do future National Council events, he told Cantor he wanted to do them in the Northeast. “Iowa will be reassessed by both parties -- whether people should be planting the flag there as much as they have,” says Gage, the former Romney consultant. “My takeaway personally is that New Hampshire is still the king. It really is the most important, and not Iowa.”
The most audacious option would be to completely bypass Iowa -- as McCain did in 2000 and toyed with doing last year -- and with it downplay the circuit of conservative interest groups to which Romney felt obliged to pay fealty in advance of 2008. “He doesn’t have to do that again,” says Keene, the American Conservative Union head. “That’s the plus side of his candidacy. A lot of people got comfortable with him, and he didn’t make a fool out of himself. You don’t always lose by losing.”
Sasha Issenberg, the Washington correspondent for Monocle, is the author of The Sushi Economy: Globalization and the Making of a Modern Delicacy. He previously covered national politics for the Globe. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
A BOSTON GLOBE EDITORIAL
"For the ever-changing Romney, a new persona: himself"
September 3, 2009
MITT ROMNEY isn’t openly running for president yet, but he’s clearly focused like a laser on 2012. And seldom has a noncandidate done so well by doing so little. That’s mostly because an astonishing number of his putative 2012 rivals have obliged Romney by systematically stumbling.
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal’s stock sank like a stone after his amateurish, underwhelming response to President Obama’s February address to Congress. Sarah Palin’s decision to resign as governor of Alaska has only exacerbated doubts about her abilities. South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford and Nevada Senator John Ensign have been badly embarrassed by soap opera affairs, which have made a mockery of their pious public pronouncements.
By contrast, the polished Romney, who is the very picture of a devoted husband, has gotten taller just by keeping his head relatively low. But something equally important seems to be happening inside his camp. According to Sasha Issenberg’s story in the Boston Globe Magazine, Romney’s team has come to think that the former venture capitalist and governor’s best route to the White House will come by stressing economic and fiscal issues and managerial competence rather than by pushing conservative social and cultural hot buttons.
That makes good sense. And yet, close political observers can be forgiven for thinking that this epiphany has come rather late. After all, Romney spent much of the 2008 campaign cycle pandering to the right wing on issues like gay marriage, immigration, and guns, let alone fear of, gulp, Massachusetts. And who can forget his effort to portray himself as the voice of the “Republican wing of the Republican Party’’ - and to cast rival John McCain as outside the conservative mainstream? Meanwhile, it’s hard to recall a sillier speech in the entire last cycle than the one Romney gave to the Conservative Political Action Conference. There, Romney told conservative activists that he was ending his campaign because a protracted primary race might hurt the GOP’s fall prospects and thus make him complicit in “aiding a surrender to terror.’’
Still, if there’s to be yet another new Romney, we hope the 2012 campaign model will be closer to the man we briefly knew as governor than to the candidate who played such an aggressive game of panderama last time out. Which is to say, Romney should adopt the counsel Polonius would undoubtedly have given had he been a political consultant rather than a royal counselor: To thine own strengths be true.
Campaign 2012 - "Democrats bash Romney as flip-flopper"
boston.com - Posted by Foon Rhee, deputy national political editor, September 21, 2009
The Democratic National Committee said Mitt Romney's appearance on Fox News Channel this morning was "vintage Romney" -- and it didn't mean it in a nice way.
Romney -- the former Massachusetts governor, 2008 GOP presidential contender, and possible 2012 hopeful -- slammed the Obama administration on health care and climate change bills, saying that Americans are souring on the president and his Democratic allies.
"They see a cap and trade bill that would add the cost to the American family of $1,761, they don't like that," Romney said. "They see a health care plan where government would ultimately be able to take over health, they don't like that."
But the DNC asserted that Romney supported a similar Northeast regional cap-and-trade system -- limiting carbon emissions and creating a market for pollution credits -- as governor.
It also pointed out that Politifact, an independent fact-checking organization, concluded that the claim is false. While the $1,761 figure has been propagated on various conservative websites and repeated by other politicians, it assumes that all the pollution credits would have to be bought by industry, which would pass on the entire cost to consumers. But the latest bills would give away some of the credits and would earmark the revenue from the sale of credit to help offset higher power bills for consumers.
The DNC also asserted that the health care bills before Congress share quite a few proposals with the system that Romney helped push through for Massachusetts.
"On Fox News this morning, Mitt Romney reminded us why he was such a flawed candidate in the 2008 election," the DNC said. "In pandering to the right wing, he criticized a health care plan that is not unlike the one he helped pass as Governor of Massachusetts and criticized a cap and trade plan that is similar to the one he once endorsed as Governor. While Romney changes his position on every issue he once supported to once again appeal to the right wing, it raises the real question of why he thinks they will believe his new positions this time when they didn't buy his make-over last time."
The DNC, however, failed to acknowledge that while Romney initially supported the Northeast plan, called the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, he backed out in December 2005, citing concerns over the cost to consumers.
Romney spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom responded, "Governor Romney refused to sign the RGGI agreement because of his concern for how much it would cost individuals and businesses in terms of higher electricity prices. It's hard to fathom how even the most hardened Romney critics at the DNC could construe that to mean he supported RGGI."
"The $1,761 per family average cost of a national cap and trade program is truly frightening. Barack Obama himself said that under his cap and trade proposal, energy prices would 'skyrocket.' It looks like his prediction is right on the mark," Fehrnstrom added.
Romney also made headlines over the weekend with his appearance at the Values Voter Summit in Washington, where he unleashed a barrage of attacks on Obama and the Democrats.
"I'll bet you never dreamed you’d look back at Jimmy Carter as the good old days," he said in one of his barbs. (Read more of his remarks here.)
After winning the presidential straw poll at the summit in 2007, however, Romney finished a distant second this time to former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, also a rival for the GOP nomination last year.
Also, the DNC is blasting Romney for holding a fund-raiser today for Bob McDonnell, the Republican candidate for governor in Virginia, whose views on women have come under scrutiny, particularly after disclosure of a 20-year-old graduate thesis that appeared to denigrate working women.
"I suppose if Mitt Romney's trying to burnish his right wing credentials to make up for the credibility gap with his party's base that his serial flip-flopping has earned him, embracing a candidate so extreme that he believes that women shouldn't work outside the home, victims of rape and incest should be denied medical options, and even married adults should not have access to contraception, is a good way to go," DNC spokesman Hari Sevugan said in a statement.
September 26, 2009
On 10/20/2009, WILLARD Mitt Romney is charging supporters $500 to meet with him! I would not go to this campaign PAC event if the former-Governor paid me $500! Romney is a do-nothing! He has been in politics for over 15 years now and he has done NOTHING to improve government or society. All Romney does is talk, talk and talk some more! Romney talks a good game, but when in government he is nothing short of lame! Romney's crowning healthcare reform act does nothing to control costs, which are now bankrupting the commonwealth along with the "Big Dig" boondoggle that has killed innocent people do to shoddy construction that also leaks millions of gallons of water. Moreover, WILLARD Mitt Romney is a flip-flopper! Romney accused the Democratic Party leaders such as Barack Obama of being on the side of terrorism! Romney criticized Obama for supporting sex education in public schools starting in Kindergarten, which was a policy he supported prior to being against it. All sex education in Kindergarten really means is to teach young children & their parents about and how to tell their teachers about sexually deviant perverts when the walk or ride to and from their school. Romney puts politics over the safety of 5 years olds! Romney flip-flopped on limited abortion rights, and same sex marriage or civil unions rights. As Governor, Romney used a racist law from 1913 that prohibited interracial married couples from being recognized from other states in Massachusetts! This law was repealed by Governor Deval Patrick. Romney was the wealthiest candidate for U.S. President in 2008, but proved to unite that Republican Party by dividing himself from his fellow conservative candidates John McCain & Mike Huckabee.
In conclusion, Romney is a phony who accomplished nothing in over 15 years in politics. Romney made controversial remarks that falsely linked/associated terrorism with Democratic Party leaders that include the current U.S. President. His crowning achievement on healthcare reform failed to control costs and is bankrupting the state he was recently governor of -- Massachusetts currently has a $6 billion budget deficit! He flipped-flopped on sex education, limited abortion rights, and same sex marriage or civil union legal rights! He used a racist law from 1913 to limit the rights of same sex marriage in Massachusetts, which the following (black) Governor repealed. Romney is worth over one-quarter of a billion dollars, but performed dismally in the Republican Party presidential primary in 2008. Romney was divisive and negative against his fellow conservative presidential candidates. I would not want to meet WILLARD Mitt Romney if his PAC paid me $500!
Jonathan A. Melle
"Mitt Romney: Stepping away from Israel will weaken the United States"
By MITT ROMNEY, Op-Ed, The Union Leader, October 23, 2009
The world is fast becoming a more dangerous place. Liberty and peace are threatened in new and frightful ways. Russia is returning to its authoritarian ways, fueled by its energy stranglehold on Europe.
China has married the power of free enterprise with the oppression of Communist rule. Violent jihadists are fighting to crush people and nations across the globe.
And rogue nations with maniacal autocrats are recklessly pursuing nuclear capabilities that put the world in jeopardy. Left unchecked, a nuclear race will be joined by many, many others.
For all these reasons, America needs strong allies.
This is one reason why I am so very concerned by the current drift in our government's relationship with Israel. In pursuit of a peace process, the United States today has exerted substantial pressure on Israel while putting almost no pressure on the Palestinians and the Arab world.
Consider how little we ask of the Arab world. Why is it that only Egypt and Jordan have peace agreements with Israel? What about Saudi Arabia? The Saudi government will not even sit in the same room as the Israelis, let alone normalize relations or work toward a realistic peace agreement. In 2007, at the height of the Olmert-Abbas peace talks, the Saudis were demanding that more U.S. companies comply with their boycott of Israel.
Israel, on the other hand, has repeatedly demonstrated its commitment to a lasting and realistic peace. In 2005, for example, Israel handed over the Gaza strip to the Palestinians. This generous, unilateral act was met in return with rockets fired into Israel, with a coup by Hamas in Gaza and with two wars -- one on the Lebanese border and another in Gaza.
We can encourage both parties in the conflict, but we must never forget which one is our ally. Nor must we forget that Hamas, like other violent jihadists, does not have a two-state solution as its objective. It has the conquest and annihilation of Israel as its objective. The notion that Hamas and violent Jihadists are motivated by "shared interests" and "common goals" is naive in the extreme and dangerous to the entire free world.
My concern extends to our entire foreign policy. If the U.S. government engages tyrannies and autocracies -- countries like Iran and North Korea, Syria and Russia, Sudan and Zimbabwe -- based on the conviction that we are dealing with common interests more than competing interests, it will not end well.
Keeping our word to our allies is a matter of honor, but it is also a matter of self-interest. The United States needs allies for economic, political and national security reasons. Good allies and strong alliances allow us to share the burdens we carry, complement and supplement our efforts and present a united front against those who wish us harm.
When we treat any ally in a desultory manner -- and especially if we act in a way that causes them to question our reliability, our resolve, our commitment and staying power -- then they as well as our other allies, all of whom are watching closely, will turn to others for their security.
When Poland and the Czech Republic are humiliated by us, they lose confidence in America's support for them, and they may decide that they must incline more toward Russia.
If our friends in Latin America like Colombia become convinced that we are turning our back on them, they may feel compelled to become more accommodating to Hugo Chavez.
If Japan believes the United States is weakening its commitment in the Pacific, it may distance itself from America and draw closer to China.
When defenders of democracy and the rule of constitution and law in Honduras find that we have sided with their pro-Chavez illegal opposition, freedom fighters across the world, recalculate their chances for success.
And if Arab nations believe that we will accommodate Iran's ambition to dominate the Middle East with nuclear weapons, they will move closer to that very nation.
Whenever or wherever America steps away from one of its friends and allies, or shrinks in the face of belligerent tyrants, those who are allied with us may understandably or inevitably step closer to our foes. The advance of human rights and the defense of liberty demand that America stands firm with its allies -- all of them.
Mitt Romney was governor of Massachusetts from 2003 to 2007.
"Romney attending Senate fundraiser for Brown"
Boston.com - October 30, 2009
BOSTON --Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney may have worked with Democratic candidate Stephen Pagliuca (pah-lee-OOH'-kah), but he's supporting fellow Republican Scott Brown in this race to succeed the late Sen. Edward Kennedy.
The 2008 GOP presidential contender is headlining a fundraiser Friday night in Brown's hometown of Wrentham.
Brown is facing perennial candidate Jack E. Robinson for the Republican nomination on Dec. 8.
Pagliuca, co-owner of the Boston Celtics, and is one of four Democratic candidates.
He and Romney made millions together during their time together at Bain Capital. Pagliuca has donated to Romney and Republican causes in the past, but he cites Democratic donations and says he's a "true progressive."
Kennedy died Aug. 25 of brain cancer. The special election to replace him is Jan. 19.
"Former Lt. Gov. Healey speaks for charter schools"
By Associated Press, Friday, November 6, 2009, www.bostonherald.com - Local Politics
Former Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey is stepping back into the public spotlight.
The Republican’s 2006 gubernatorial candidate sent out an e-mail on Friday urging Massachusetts to lift its cap on charter schools. She is now director of the pro-charter Pioneer Institute.
Healey says that with President Barack Obama setting aside $4 billion for charter school expansion, Massachusetts should try to get as much of the funding as possible.
She says "the Legislature is holding back, afraid of political retribution by the unions."
After losing to Democrat Deval Patrick three years ago, Healey spent time teaching at Harvard and later working with women from Afghanistan on the legal system in their country.
She considered but decided against running for the Senate seat vacated through the death of Edward Kennedy.
"Romney: Brown win in Senate race would 'shock the country'"
Posted by Foon Rhee, deputy national political editor, boston.com - December 31, 2009
Mitt Romney -- that rare political breed, a Republican elected statewide in Massachusetts -- told supporters today that if Scott Brown can pull off the same next month in the US Senate special election, it "would shock the country and send a strong message that business as usual in Washington is coming to an end.
"He would bring badly-needed fiscal restraint to an out-of-control budget process that is adding trillions of dollars to our national debt," said Romney, the former Bay State governor who gives every indication he's preparing a second presidential bid in 2012.
Romney added a link to Brown's campaign website in his "month in review" message for December to backers of his Free & Strong America political action committee.
Brown "is running a determined campaign to make history by becoming the first Republican senator from Massachusetts in 30 years," Romney added. "If he is successful, Scott will be the crucial 41st vote against President Obama's healthcare bill when it comes back to the Senate for final passage."
Brown, a state senator facing an uphill fight against Democratic Attorney General Martha Coakley in the Jan. 19 balloting, has hit Coakley for her health care stands and caused waves on Wednesday by airing a TV ad tying himself to John F. Kennedy, a Democratic icon and the brother of the man the two are vying to replace, the late Edward M. Kennedy.
"Romney plans Iowa stop on book tour"
By Associated Press, January 4, 2010, www.bostonherald.com - U.S. Politics
DES MOINES, Iowa — Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has scheduled two book-signing stops in Iowa, the latest in a string of potential 2012 Republican presidential contenders to visit the state where precinct caucuses launch the nominating process.
Romney will visit Iowa on March 29, with stops in Des Moines and Ames to push his book, "No Apology: The Case for America’s Greatness." Romney sought the GOP nomination in the 2008 cycle but stumbled in Iowa and faded from the race.
Other potential contenders who have visited Iowa include former governors Mike Huckabee and Sarah Palin and Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty.
Romney has not scheduled book-signing in other early nominating states such as New Hampshire and South Carolina. His tour is being arranged by his publisher, St. Martin’s Press.
Ann Romney says she underwent a lumpectomy in the weeks before Christmas in 2008. Photo by John Wilcox (file).
"Ann Romney opens up about breast cancer diagnosis"
By Jessica Heslam, January 4, 2010, www.bostonherald.com - Local Coverage
In her first public interview since being diagnosed with breast cancer, Ann Romney tells “Fox & Friends” mammograms discovered her early stage breast cancer and she was “really lucky.”
Romney, 60, wife of former Massachusetts governor and likely 2012 Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, underwent a lumpectomy in the weeks before Christmas in 2008.
In an interview set to air tomorrow morning on “Fox & Friends,” Ann Romney said “it’s real important” for women to get mammograms, which she said caught her cancer at a “very early stage.”
“I was really lucky,” Romney said during the recent sitdown with Fox’s Gretchen Carlson.
“I had surgery right about this time, right before Christmas last year and then I started my radiation in the end of January,” she said. “If I were a 40-year-old woman, 40 to 50, I’d want to be getting my mammograms. They catch cancers, and cancer is very curable if you catch it early.”
The interview comes as Mitt Romney readies for a book tour - which includes a stop in Iowa - for the March release of his new tome, “No Apology: The Case for American Greatness.”
Ann Romney said she kept quiet about her diagnosis and treatment because she wasn’t in the public eye anymore. Mitt Romney made a failed bid for the GOP presidential nomination in 2008. “We were not in the public eye anymore and there was no reason for me to be out again being in the public eye, when you’re going through a crisis, you really just kind of want to have your family around and your husband,” she said.
When asked about criticism of her husband, Ann Romney said there were times when she wanted to “come out of my seat and clock somebody” but “you learn to just take a deep breath.”
As for her husband making another bid for the White House, Romney said the couple will make that decision together. “We’re not ready to make that decision yet. It’s a lot of sacrifice, it’s tough, it’s a tough road and we have at least a year before we have to make that decision,” she said.
She was also asked whether she enjoys being the wife of a politician. Romney said she “liked being with Mitt while he was a politician” but she doesn’t think “anyone would ever really enjoy that role.”
Another segment of the interview airs Wednesday.
WILLARD Mitt Romney & Scott Brown. Early-Winter of 2010.
"Romney's gearing up for 2012 with lessons from '08 on his mind"
By Dan Balz, The Washington Post, A02; February 21, 2010
For most of the past year, Mitt Romney has been off the stage. While Sarah Palin has commanded headlines, while other Republicans have jumped into intraparty controversies over purity and as GOP leaders have vied with one another to bash President Obama the loudest, Romney stayed largely out of the fray.
That is about to change. The former Massachusetts governor has spent much of the past year working on a book called "No Apology" that will be published next month. He is now preparing to reemerge, with an eye on a possible 2012 presidential campaign. The question is what he learned from his failed 2008 campaign.
He marked the beginning of his reemergence with an appearance at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference, which wrapped up three days of rhetoric Saturday. There he delivered a full-throated attack on Obama's policies, and he offered praise for former president George W. Bush and former vice president Dick Cheney.
For that he drew an enthusiastic response from an audience that has become emblematic of the party's most conservative wing. It didn't hurt that he was introduced by the newest darling of Republicans, Sen. Scott Brown (Mass.), whose victory in the special election for the seat once held by the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D) dramatically changed the political calculus in Washington and around the country.
Brown's election provided Romney with one of his best laugh lines. "For that victory," he said, "that stopped Obama-care and turned back the Reid-Pelosi liberal tide, we have something to say that you'd never think you'd hear at CPAC, 'Thank you, Massachusetts!' "
Romney wore his Massachusetts experience uncomfortably in the last presidential campaign. To compete for the nomination, he was forced to change some of the positions he had taken in two statewide campaigns in the Bay State-- one unsuccessful, one successful. He moved sharply to the right on abortion and gay rights and ran away from the health-care overhaul that he signed as governor and that bears resemblance to many of the ideas Democrats have pushed over the past year.
To win over social conservatives, he overcompensated. His 2007 speech at CPAC was replete with references to their issues. "I have stood in the center of the battlefield on every major social issue," he said that year. On Thursday, his speech contained no references to abortion, same-sex marriage or some of the other issues that became touchstones in his effort to win the hearts and minds of skeptical conservatives.
Romney has not abandoned any of those 2008 positions, and one speech is hardly representative of the body of his thinking or the themes he will strike to win support of conservatives, if he chooses to run again in 2012. But as a small indicator, the speech Thursday at least hinted that Romney and his advisers concluded that he had emphasized those issues far too much, for too little gain.
In his first campaign, Romney struggled to present himself in an authentic way. Many conservatives doubted his conversion. Moderates were disappointed that he seemed to have put on a new suit of clothes. His rivals ridiculed him as a flip-flopper. The media made Romney's shifting positions central to their coverage of his candidacy.
Most damaging was that Romney robbed himself of what many advisers and admirers had long thought was his most attractive attribute: that the former business executive knew how to fix problems, particularly with the economy. If he runs in 2012, it likely will be as a conservative Mr. Fix-It, rather than a convert to the cultural wars.
As much as Romney labored with his presentation, his campaign became an often undisciplined battleground of its own. Romney hired many top party consultants but was unable to find a way to get the most out of them. His campaign team was at times paralyzed -- and demoralized -- by the fact that no one could resolve or end constant warring among his media consultants.
Romney has taken steps to fix that problem. Last week he named Matt Rhoades as the new executive director of his political action committee. Rhoades ran Romney's communications operation in 2008 and before that was research director and deputy communications director at the Republican National Committee.
His appointment was seen by Romney loyalists as a sign that the former governor wants a well-executed plan for using his time and money in behalf of Republican candidates this fall, with a particular eye on preparing for another presidential campaign. Rhoades, by his own words, will not tolerate chaos in the Romney organization.
Better than most around Romney, Rhoades understands and can manage the two wings of Romney's political operation -- his Boston-based team of longtime advisers and the high-powered Washington consultants who came aboard for the 2008 campaign. "Rhoades commands the respect of everyone who is counted as part of the Romney team, and that matters a lot to the governor," said Kevin Madden, who was Romney's 2008 campaign press secretary.
Another Romney adviser from 2008 said of Rhoades's arrival, "I think it means the ramp-up will be quick and that 2010 will be a professional effort from day one -- a long way from the Commonwealth PAC," Romney's former political action committee.
It was clear from his CPAC performance that in terms of polish, he will start the 2012 cycle in better shape than the last campaign and ahead of many first-timers in the contest for the Republican nomination. Whether he has found his true voice will be answered in the months ahead.
"Annals of friendship"
Former Governor Mitt Romney, R-Massachusetts, is endorsing Senator John McCain's campaign Tuesday (February 23, 2010) morning :
"For years, I've been an admirer of John McCain. Then we became competitors. Today, I'm proud to call him my friend," Romney will say, per excerpts provided to The Note. "In my view, it's hard to imagine the United States Senate without John McCain, especially in the critical times we find ourselves in, with double-digit unemployment, a mountain of debt imperiling future generations and a global terrorist threat from jihadists bent on destroying our very way of life."
McCain, R-Arizona, on Romney: "Governor Romney is among the brightest and most dynamic leaders in our Party, and I am proud to have his support."
Source: ABC News "The Note"
"Blue skies, but no smooth sailing"
By Scot Lehigh, Boston Globe Columnist, February 26, 2010
I THINK I’m actually starting to feel a little sorry for Mitt Romney.
Now, I can already anticipate the likely retort: What a crock, Scot! You’ve never liked Romney. Not so. I quite liked the gay-rights supporting prochoice businessman of 1994.
Ditto the moderate Mittster of the early 2000s. Why, back in 2000, I wrote an article highlighting him as the best choice for the GOP’s 2002 gubernatorial nomination. A Romney quote from that piece - “[I]n the right circumstances, I would consider an opportunity to run for governor’’ - may even have contributed to a Romney for governor boomlet.
And despite the occasional appearance of Slick Willard, the master of misdirection who emerged as the Mittster’s dodgy doppelganger, I was favorably inclined toward Governor Romney - until he caught Potomac Fever and began systematically transforming himself into a South Carolina Republican.
If the metamorphosis was dizzying, the kowtowing seemed undignified. Poor Mitt found himself buying a lifetime membership in the NRA and weaving Elmer Fuddian tales of hunting wascally wabbits and other varmints with his son’s guns. Myself, I thought Romney could have done better running as himself. Some of Romney’s inner circle felt the same way, though their counsel fell on deaf ears.
Still, the Mittster proved no slouch at pandering, and by campaign’s end, he actually seemed to have won some conservatives over. So Romney, who some consider the early front-runner for the GOP’s 2012 presidential nomination, had every right to be hopeful when he went to the annual Conservative Political Action Conference, a scene of past triumphs, and delivered one of his patented darn-the-torpedoes, give-’em H-E-double hockey sticks stem-winders.
But the effort, sad to say, can’t be deemed a success. After hearing from Mitt and a bevy of others, the CPAC attendees chose as their presidential favorite libertarian eccentric Ron Paul, who - I kid you not - spent much of his speech railing against the policies of Woodrow Wilson. Not only that, but the Associated Press devoted much of a long news analysis to Romney’s rhetorical efforts. “Romney’s assertions,’’ said the AP, “lacked context at best and at worst were flat-out wrong.’’
Adding insult to injury, CPAC came on the very heels of the Mittster’s greatest transportation mishap since that day in 1983 when he secured a dog carrier atop the Romney station wagon, installed the family pooch therein, and set out for a Happy Hollisters vacation - never anticipating that riding up there in that windy aerie would give poor Seamus an acute case of the canine collywobbles, evidence of which would soon come seeping down onto the car’s rear window.
I’m talking, of course, about the Curious Case of Meddling Mitt and the Reclining Rapper. As the airplane incident was originally reported, it sounded as though Romney was the victim of an unprovoked attack. But nothing is as simple as it seems. The other party, it turns out, was rapper Sky Blu.
As the rapper told the story in an online video, he was trying to sleep in his seat prior to takeoff when suddenly Romney “put a condor grip on me’’ and loudly instructed him to put his seat up. This offended Mr. Blu, who found himself thinking: “I’m not your prey. I’m not a salmon going upstream.’’ (No indeed. And who among us wants to be mistaken for such?) So “I just react, boom, get off of me,’’ explained the rapper, demonstrating how he had swung his arm back at Mitt. At that point, Romney decided to let the flight crew handle the matter, his spokesman said.
Which left me wondering several somewhat contradictory things:
One: Isn’t that what Romney should have done in the first place, unless he’s now moonlighting as a flight attendant?
Two: If he can’t stare down Sky Blu, how is he ever going to deal with that baleful Mr. Putin?
And three: Is the Mittster about to be ridiculed in a rap song?
And yet, surveying the other putative GOP candidates, I still think Mitt’s got some promise - if he can only decide who he actually is and settle on something real to say, that is.
Scot Lehigh can be reached at email@example.com.
Mitt Romney, former governor of Massachusetts, signed a copy of his new book, ‘‘No Apology,’’ for Nuha Kurdistani Sarraj at a bookstore in Phoenix. (Laura Segall for The Boston Globe)
"Romney draws a loyal following as book tour hits Arizona: Fans praise his business-minded take on politics"
By Sasha Issenberg, Boston Globe Correspondent, March 21, 2010
PHOENIX — A line with hundreds of book buyers snaked through the second floor of a Borders store, many trying to wriggle into positions so that no CD rack could obstruct their view of Mitt Romney’s imminent arrival.
But Curtis Johnson sat on the ground, his back against a shelf of sports literature, studiously guiding a yellow highlighter through a copy of Romney’s new book he had just purchased. Johnson, a 37-year old real estate broker fresh from work in a shirt and tie, was already sold on Romney as a future president; now he was seeking fodder from the former candidate’s life to use in company-training sessions.
“There’s always things you can take from people who did well in business,’’ said Johnson.
Romney is in the midst of a national tour to promote “No Apology,’’ which is at the top of today’s New York Times bestseller list for nonfiction books. On Tuesday evening, the former Massachusetts governor arrived at Biltmore Fashion Park, an upscale Phoenix shopping center, to greet a political base personally that he has temporarily converted into a literary constituency.
Tea Party activism is rising in Arizona, but this gathering had more the feel of a Chamber of Commerce meet-and-greet. No handmade signs were in sight; more shirts were buttoned down and adorned with stitched corporate affiliation than festooned with buttons proclaiming a slogan or declaring a political allegiance.
Loyalists to Romney, who is considered a possible candidate for the presidency again in 2012, are happy to critique President Obama’s agenda and the failures on the Washington political scene, but with little of the rancor popular in other quarters of the right.
Indeed, Romney’s book tour looks like a rolling conservative counterrevolution, where populist conflict has little appeal and “common sense’’ and “business-minded’’ are the highest possible praise.
“That’s what I like about Mitt Romney — he’s more of that John Kennedy type of politician, rather than the way politics are today,’’ said Cooki Turner, a 66-year-old semiretired office manager who drove five hours from the Arizona border town of Rio Rico.
“Republicans today are not the Republicans that were years ago,’’ Turner went on, clutching three copies of Romney’s book and a memoir by Leslie Caron, the French actress and dancer. “They keep fighting the Democrats instead of fighting the issues. I think we need to get back to the issues.’’
If anything, Romney loyalists are notable for their stolid establishmentarianism, as though trying to will back a country where a high-finance resume is prized and cults form around credentials rather than personality.
“Look at his background: He has a great financial background, he’s been in government, he’s from a family that’s very service-minded and he is also,’’ Dawna Rozsa, 82, said of the former venture capitalist who helped found Bain Capital in Boston. Rozsa said she first met Romney in 1974 when her husband was posted with the Church of Latter-day Saints, Romney’s church.
Romney’s book signings offer a dry run for the type of national organizing that will be necessary if he decides to run again. Before the Phoenix event, Romney’s Free & Strong America political action committee sent an e-mail invitation to the 4,500 names in its supporter database carrying ZIP codes within a 50-mile radius.
By Tuesday morning, 129 had confirmed their attendance and 81 were maybes. Others said they learned about the visit from Facebook, where as of last week he had 252,260 registered fans. (A manager later estimated that the store sold 400 books in conjunction with the signing.)
The first person in line, John Stone, had arrived with his sister-in-law at 5 a.m., two hours before Borders would distribute wristbands that would secure their place in line.
By 1 p.m., they had settled into seats outside the bookstore’s doors. Stone had a Walkman tuned to a local talk-radio station for entertainment, and a large cup of Gatorade for sustenance.
“No disrespect to lawyers, but they’re not businesspeople and they don’t know how to create jobs,’’ said Stone, a 43-year-old security guard who works for Wackenhut patrolling Lowe’s parking lots. He thought a Romney presidency would spur economic growth and create more opportunities for him to work overtime hours. “He’s been a success in business, just like his dad turned around American Motors.’’
Eight spots down, Matthew Phy said that he was pleasantly surprised to get such a prime spot.
When he attended a Sarah Palin signing in December at a Costco in Tempe, he had been number 250. “It’s a different group of people,’’ he said of the Romney supporters. “It’s more educated people, businesspeople.’’
Phy, an Arizona State University junior and College Republicans vice president, had purchased one book for himself and one that he planned to save for a hypothetical future wife. A McCain supporter, Phy said his views of Romney had warmed after the 2008 primaries.
“I didn’t like his whole attitude. He came off as arrogant,’’ Phy said. “After the campaign, he really focused on his strong point, which is the economy, which is where he always wins. He toned it down a bit.’’
Some Romney supporters had nice words for Palin, his possible rival, but seemed to take pride that they respond to his appeal to “experience’’ over her “attitude,’’ as Nick Hudec, a 39-year-old bank official, put it.
Most Romney fans described their falling for him in terms that resembled not love at first sight but the gradual trust one establishes with a valued tax accountant.
“Where I think he really stood out was the debates. He was heads and shoulders above the rest, because of his business background,’’ said Tim Bothwell, a 41-year-old sales manager at a Toyota dealership in nearby Chandler. “When you hear him speak, it’s more on a business level — a been there, done that — rather than theory.’’
When Romney arrived, he mounted a chair to address the crowd briefly. (At other stops on his tour, Romney is giving longer speeches before business meetings and political groups.) “It’s easy to get a book, but I guess the signature must be worth something,’’ he said, before he retreated to a signing table. “You know it’s just Mitt Romney here, right?’’
Stone was one of the first to pass the gantlet, clutching his book as he headed toward the door after meeting Romney, 14 hours after he had arrived.
“I had to get in line for Ozzy Osbourne’s signature, and they had so many people in line they didn’t care,’’ he reflected. “I was younger when I met Ozzy.’’
WILLARD Mitt Romney; AP Photo.
"Mitt Romney attacks health care law similar to his own"
By The Associated Press, GLEN JOHNSON, AP Political Writer, March 26, 2010
CHICAGO (AP) — Mitt Romney has a problem with Obamacare. It looks a lot like Romneycare.
The prospective Republican presidential candidate's vulnerability on the issue was evident this week, when he was interrupted during a tour for his new book by a woman upset with the Massachusetts health care law Romney signed as governor in 2006. That law has some of the same core features as the federal law President Barack Obama, a Democrat, signed on Tuesday.
And that's creating an uncomfortable straddle for Romney as his party makes attacking the new health care law its main message this midterm year.
"We are up to here with Republicans not being conservative enough," Dr. Sharon Sikora, a local dentist, said as she raised her hand over her head. "And with all due respect, governor, your health care in Massachusetts is not the be-all and end-all, and there are significant problems with that, and I wouldn't embrace that today, either."
Romney conceded the Massachusetts plan "isn't perfect" and is "a work in progress," but he put part of the blame on Democrats who overrode vetoes he believes would have improved the original plan.
And then, instead of dissociating himself from the plan as he did during his 2008 White House race, Romney complained the president didn't tap his expertise while crafting the federal measure.
"No one came to talk to me," Romney said. "It's very clear that people thought they had the answer without getting the benefit of the experiment."
Like the new federal law, the Massachusetts plan requires individuals to buy health insurance and imposes tax penalties on those who don't. Both plans penalize small businesses above a certain size that don't provide coverage to their employees. And both rely on new taxes for some of their financing.
"The Massachusetts plan serves as a template for federal reform," said Richard Powers, spokesman for the state agency that sets standards for the mandatory private insurance plans individuals must buy. Obama's plan "didn't replicate everything that we have here, but it certainly drew from the important principles of it."
Massachusetts has succeeded in raising the amount of insured residents to 97 percent, but the cost has strained the state treasury. Powers' agency reported that 68 percent of the 407,000 who are newly insured got a partial or full subsidy for their coverage.
And since some of that subsidy money came from the federal government in the form of a Medicaid waiver, the state treasurer recently asked who was going to provide similar funding on the national level for Obama's plan.
The Club for Growth, which raises campaign money for economic conservative candidates, ripped Romney this month when he declared the Massachusetts program "the ultimate conservative plan" because it requires individual responsibility. One of the group's leaders said that if Romney believed that, "he's in the wrong party." Conservative columnists have been similarly critical.
The former governor dismisses his critics, saying, "You do what you think is right, and if people decide that that's not something they're happy with, so be it." Besides, he said, he hasn't decided whether to run for president again.
Romney criticized the Obama law in a blistering posting on the conservative National Review's Web site just hours after the House passed the bill late Sunday. But, notably, he attacked the process more than the substance.
"America has just witnessed an unconscionable abuse of power," he wrote, complaining that Obama used extreme tactics to pass a bill without any Republican support. "For these reasons and more, the act should be repealed." Alternatively, he suggested starving it of money.
Romney reiterated his position after signing nearly 1,000 copies of his book at a store near his vacation home in San Diego early this week.
"I like what we have in Massachusetts, despite some flaws," Romney said. "But what I see in Obamacare is a very different piece of legislation — and one that followed a very different track. In our case, our bill was carried out in a bipartisan basis."
Political analysts expect his rivals to gloss over such distinctions — and attack the general similarities — in any future campaign.
"He's explaining the differences between Massachusetts and Washington in some very subtle and complex ways, and politics is about simple truths — particularly in party primaries," said Jeffrey Berry, a political science professor at Tufts University in Massachusetts.
Berry noted that both laws require that people get insurance coverage, and both impose new taxes and penalties — "anathema to mainstream Republicanism. And both involve a significant expansion of government. So, on all those counts, Mitt Romney is vulnerable."
John DiStaso's Granite Status: "As Romney knows, it's never too early in NH"
By JOHN DISTASO, Senior Political Reporter, NH Union Leader, April 8, 2010
BEHIND THE SCENES. It's never too early to start working the grassroots in New Hampshire, as Mitt Romney and his staff and top backers know all too well.
After last night's appearance at St. Anselm College, the likely 2012 presidential candidate hosted a private dinner with a small group of influential state GOP leaders who backed other presidential candidates or stayed neutral in past elections.
Among those scheduled to attend were state Sen. Jeb Bradley, who did not endorse in 2008; former John McCain backers Jayne Millerick, a former state GOP chair, attorney Susan Duprey, state Rep. Gene Chandler and Chris Williams, president of the Greater Nashua Chamber of Commerce; as well as former Rudy Giuliani backers state Reps. Doug and Stella Scamman.
Also invited were former state GOP chair Fergus Cullen, who was neutral last time around, and Manchester Republican chair and former Mike Huckabee state chair Cliff Hurst.
John DiStaso, the New Hampshire Union Leader's senior political writer, began writing "Granite Status" in 1982. His influential reports on behind-the-scenes politics in the first-primary state are must reading every Thursday for insiders from Concord to Washington, D.C. Watch for "Granite Status" updates on UnionLeader.com whenever New Hampshire political news breaks.
"Romney to endorse Rubio over Crist for Fla. Senate"
By Brendan Farrington, AP Political Writer, April 16, 2010
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney will endorse Marco Rubio over Gov. Charlie Crist in Florida's Republican Senate primary more than two years after Crist helped crush Romney's presidential aspirations by endorsing rival John McCain.
Romney plans to announce the endorsement Saturday and campaign with Rubio in Tampa on Monday, according to a Romney adviser who asked to remain anonymous because the official announcement has not been made.
Romney is the third major 2008 presidential candidate to endorse Rubio. Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee have also endorsed the former House speaker. Giuliani, who endorsed earlier this month, was also counting on a Florida victory during the 2008 campaign and now says Crist backed out of a promised endorsement.
Crist and Rubio both sought Romney's endorsement, the adviser said, but Romney believes Rubio has a stronger conservative record and is an idea-driven leader. Romney was also disappointed that Crist vetoed a teacher merit-pay bill this week that was a high priority for Republican lawmakers and former Gov. Jeb Bush.
Romney's PAC is contributing the maximum $5,000 allowed to Rubio's campaign. In 2006, Romney flew to Tallahassee as head of the Republican Governors Association with a $1 million check to help Crist's run for governor.
In 2008, Romney and McCain were in a tight battle for Florida with Romney slightly ahead in polls leading up to the primary. Crist endorsed McCain just three days ahead of the election and some political observers believe it was enough to give McCain the win, which he used to build momentum and capture the nomination.
Romney is often mentioned as a potential 2012 presidential candidate. By backing Rubio, a favorite of conservatives, Romney could endear himself to Republican voters who were uncomfortable with his moderate stands on abortion and gay rights when he ran for office in Massachusetts.
The Rubio campaign said it would not comment on the endorsement until after it's made. The Crist campaign didn't immediately respond to e-mails seeking comment.
Crist was considered the favorite when both entered the race last May, but Rubio has risen from obscurity to front-runner status with a message opposing President Barack Obama's agenda. He frequently reminds voters that Crist hugged Obama at a Fort Myers rally in support of the $787 billion federal stimulus package that Congress later passed.
A Quinnipiac poll released this week showed Rubio 23 points ahead of Crist in the primary.
Crist, who has upset many conservatives with a more moderate approach to governing, is rumored to be considering a run as an independent candidate. He has until April 30 to decide. Florida's primary is Aug. 24 and Crist wouldn't be able to get on the November ballot as an independent if he loses.
U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek is the leading Democrat seeking the seat held by Sen. George LeMieux, whom Crist appointed to fill Mel Martinez's unexpired term.
"Which Mitt will show up in 2012?"
By Scot Lehigh, Boston Globe Columnist, May 5, 2010
IT’S HARDLY news that Mitt Romney wants to run for president again. After all, by the informal Republican rules, the horse longest in harness usually gets to lead the party charge, even if that mount is as unlikely as a 72-year-old John McCain or a 73-year-old Bob Dole.
So there’s ample reason for Mitt, who will be 65 in 2012, to be hungry for the hunt. And he is, after all, an accomplished small-game hunter — or so I seem to recall.
But how will he run? When I encountered Kerry Healey, his friend and former lieutenant governor, at the GOP’s state convention a couple weeks back, she had this to report: “I think he’s going to be himself.’’
With any other candidate, that news would hardly make your jaw drop. How else would you expect a person to run?, the politically uninitiated might well ask.
With Romney, however, a different question arises: Which himself? After all, there’s an assortment of Mitts to choose from. There’s the Newly Minted Mitt of 1994, the fresh first-time candidate who asserted that he’d be better than his rival Ted Kennedy on gay issues and who betrayed a distinct lack of reverence for GOP patron saint Ronald Reagan.
There’s Masterly Manager Mitt, the accomplished Winter Olympics impresario who ran as a moderate for governor in 2002. He was followed ever so quickly by . . . the Amazing Morphing Mitt of presidential campaign fame. That Mitt tacked so hard to starboard that he was soon assailing John McCain from the right. In one example of “Wait a minute Mittster Boastman’’ chutzpah, the man who had once bragged of being an independent during the Reagan-Bush years went so far as to brazenly declare that he spoke for “the Republican Wing of the Republican Party.’’
Another source who was at the table in the 2008 campaign echoes Healey’s comments. Romney has concluded he made a mistake by competing to be the conservatives’ favorite on the social issues and thinks he would have done better by focusing on jobs and the economy, this source says.
The person blames several (unnamed) political advisers for pushing Romney along that poorly considered course. Those advisers, he says, no longer have the Mittster’s ear. As a historical aside, time was that when an English sovereign had made a thorough muddle of things, the palace dropped word that he had been led astray by his counselors. That worked quite well for Henry VIII, but proved less successful for poor Charles I, who eventually found body and soul — actually, make that body and head — taking abrupt leave of each other. Let’s hope that Mitt has Henry’s luck.
Anyway, in search of what the newest Romney might be like, I spent last weekend reading his book, “No Apology: The Case for American Greatness.’’ Several Romney admirers had told me it was quite good, and some parts of it were. Unfortunately, other sections were both silly and contrived.
Romney, for example, repeats witless conservative talking points in equating Obama’s foreign policy to an “American Apology Tour.’’ The Pulitzer Prize-winning truth-squad PolitiFact examined Romney’s extended charge there and rated it “false.’’ I’d add that Romney’s contention that Obama’s more conciliatory approach has helped kindle “anti-American fires’’ is just as unfounded. Further, though he professes to believe in global warming caused in some part by human activity, Romney is so sure we won’t get China and India to curb greenhouse gas emissions that he displays a distinct lack of enthusiasm about that approach.
All that said, when it comes to the economy, education, and health care, Romney has put some genuine thought into things. Although he sidesteps some of the truly tough issues, those chapters make for thought-provoking reading.
Does that mean that I buy the notion that we’ll see the real Romney in 2012? Actually, I’m not sure I’d even recognize that person. Still, if he can keep to his principal themes — and avoid his past propensity for pandering — the Mitt of 2012 could prove a much more interesting and worthy candidate than the transparently expedient figure of 2008.
Scot Lehigh can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mitt Romney and Pete Wilson, former California governor, with Meg Whitman, a Republican gubernatorial candidate, in Fullerton, Calif., last month. Romney has used his fund-raising prowess to support choice candidates nationwide. (Chris Carlson/Associated Press)
"Fund-raising lifts Romney’s 2012 prospects: Total eclipses money taken in by foes’ PACs"
By Sasha Issenberg, Boston Globe Correspondent, July 15, 2010
WASHINGTON — Mitt Romney has raised nearly $3.5 million for his political action committee in the first half of the year, a sum that dwarfs that of other possible 2012 Republican presidential candidates and establishes the former Massachusetts governor as a potent political force.
The figures, which will be reported today to the Federal Election Commission, demonstrate the robust national political operation that Romney has assembled since leaving the governor’s mansion in 2007 and point toward the likelihood that he will launch another presidential campaign.
Romney’s political action committee — called Free and Strong America PAC — raised more than twice as much as any other presumed 2012 Republican con tender with a similar committee, including former vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin and Governor Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota, the only one who matches Romney’s methodical preparations for a race that will begin in earnest next year.
In an effort to expand his base, Romney has redistributed about $400,000 of the money to other Republican causes and candidates, including large sums to gubernatorial nominees in politically crucial states: $42,000 to Nikki Haley in South Carolina, $20,000 to Terry Branstad in Iowa, and $10,000 to Rick Perry in Texas.
“We’ve been able to raise a lot of money and give out a lot of money, but we’re not done yet,’’ said Eric Fehrnstrom, a Romney adviser. “We’re still in the process of identifying races where we can make a difference, so we will remain active until Election Day.’’
The impressive fund-raising totals are not surprising, given Romney’s connections and capabilities, said Corwin D. Smidt, a Michigan State University political scientist who studies fund-raising networks. But what is more important, he said, is “how he is able to capitalize on these resources and branch out to other contributors who are not solidly in his camp.’’
Individuals are permitted to donate up to $5,000 annually to political action committees, which often serve as clearinghouses for politicians to bolster relationships with existing supporters and prospective allies.
For former national candidates such as Romney and Palin, PACs offer a temporary fund-raising structure to use between campaigns. The success of the PACs hints at a politician’s fund-raising prowess in anticipation of a 2012 presidential race that will probably require hundreds of millions of dollars.
Palin’s committee, called SarahPAC, has raised about $1.3 million so far this year, the bulk of it in the second quarter. Governor Haley Barbour of Mississippi raised $278,000 for his Haley’s PAC through the end of May. (The latest filings are not yet due). Pawlenty will report that the Freedom First PAC he launched last fall has taken in about $1.3 million this year, according to a spokesman.
Newt Gingrich, former House speaker, has raised $72,000 for his American Solutions PAC, in addition to $3.4 million for a different kind of committee, called a 527 group, that can raise with few limits but is prohibited from interacting directly with candidates or parties. (One Texas oil company gave Gingrich a single contribution of $100,000 this spring.)
Romney founded his PAC after dropping out of the 2008 primary following a poor performance in early contests. According to a draft summary of a campaign finance report provided to the Globe, Romney has significantly increased his fund-raising metabolism this year, raising more in the first six months of 2010 than he did in all of 2009.
Most of Romney’s money came through events (including one at New York’s Waldorf Astoria Hotel in May that netted $1 million) and personal appeals to major donors, including those from professional fund-raising consultants. The remainder, according to an aide, arrived through smaller contributions online, via direct mail, or through telemarketing.
About $487,000 of the money Romney raised this year was redistributed through five state-level affiliate committees, which can often operate under rules looser than federal law.
Romney’s contributions to other candidates, committees, and parties demonstrate the changing topography of his national ambitions. Romney has made only three contributions to candidates in Iowa — including $20,000 to Branstad — where he competed intensely in 2008 but finished a disappointing second in the season’s first nominating contest.
Romney has been far more lavish in the South, where he failed to carry a single state in 2008. He made a $42,000 contribution, his most generous of the year, to Haley of South Carolina, along with smaller checks to 20 state legislative candidates and even two contenders for Greenville County Council.
In neighboring Georgia, where he carried the Atlanta metropolitan area in 2008 but lagged elsewhere in the state, Romney is supporting dozens of candidates for offices up and down the ballot.
“Mitt has a lot of friends in Georgia,’’ said Eric J. Tanenblatt, who chaired Romney’s campaign in the state. “In the 2008 primary, more state legislators and members of our congressional delegation endorsed Mitt over the other candidates. These individuals were helpful to him, and he is now returning his support, both politically and financially, to them.’’
Romney has been quick to back politicians who supported his campaign, but initially stayed away from divisive Republican primaries, such as those for Senate in Florida and Nevada. In those cases and others, Romney waited until the party united around a standard-bearer to issue an endorsement and the inevitable check.
“For these PACs, what’s really important is whom these candidates select to support, not so much how much is given,’’ said Smidt. “If Romney is able to pick and push some Republican candidates into victory in 2010 more so than Pawlenty or Palin, then that means he’ll have a larger basis of party insider support in 2012, which research shows is a much more important predictor of party nomination success than money.
“But it’s more so the issue of if he’s able to find and campaign for candidates he thinks he can win,’’ Smidt continued, “and not be a Johnny-come-lately where he gives money only after the candidate looks like a sure thing.’’
Globe correspondent Stephanie Vallejo contributed to this story. Sasha Issenberg can be reached at email@example.com.
A BOSTON GLOBE EDITORIAL
"Romney’s cave-in on mosque violates his own principles"
August 25, 2010
THERE IS, in this country, an “essential connection between the survival of a free land and the protection of religious freedom.’’ Indeed, “religious tolerance would be a shallow principle indeed if it were reserved only for faiths with which we agree.’’ We know this because former Governor Mitt Romney reminded us of it when, during his presidential campaign, some fundamentalist Christians started raising objections to his Mormon faith.
Thus, one would expect Romney to stand against those who, seeking a “wedge’’ issue, are making a cause out of the plans for a mosque to be built in Lower Manhattan. They are playing on ignorance — the notion that all Muslims somehow share responsibility for Al Qaeda — and intolerance. As a very small minority religion in the United States, Islam can be easily stereotyped by self-proclaimed experts, and maligned by every crank who has access to email. Just as Romney’s critics took pieces of Mormon doctrine and twisted them to create rumors of current-day polygamy and rejection of Jesus Christ, some critics of the mosque in Lower Manhattan have sought to portray all of Islam as warlike, and the decision to build a mosque as an act of triumph.
It’s a sad show of prejudice with dire implications not just for freedom of religion, but for national security. Radical Islamists play on the idea that Americans are at war with the Muslim faith to win new recruits. That’s all the more reason for someone who wants to be president to stand up.
Romney has not. He has been far quieter on the issue than other potential GOP presidential candidates, leading some people to hope that he might break with the pack. But his spokesman finally came forward to say the former governor opposes the mosque on the grounds that it could be used as a recruitment tool for radicals (thereby pandering to all the falsehoods about the mosque being somehow related to 9/11) and that its presence offends some relatives of 9/11 victims. But there are plenty of relatives of 9/11 victims, among them some Muslims, who support the mosque. In any case, it’s a terrible precedent to curb freedom of religion on the grounds that other people are uncomfortable. The mere presence of Romney’s great-grandparents offended non-Mormon settlers in Utah, whose prejudices eventually drove the Romneys to seek a freer environment to practice their religion in Mexico.
Some leading Democrats, including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Romney’s fellow Mormon who is locked in a tight re-election fight in Nevada, have similarly put aside their support for religious expression and joined with mosque opponents for political expediency. One senses that, deep down inside, Romney is a reasonable person who wishes he didn’t have to contend with his party’s angry base. But rather than stand up to it, even on an issue that speaks directly to his own experiences, he has chosen to take the path of least resistance.
His statements have been mild enough that no one can accuse him of fanning the flames of hatred, but no one in the Republican base can say that Romney disagrees with them, either. The whole episode casts an unflattering light on a man who, just two and a half years ago, said, “You can be certain of this: Any believer in religious freedom, any person who has knelt in prayer to the Almighty, has a friend and ally in me. And so it is for hundreds of millions of our countrymen: we do not insist on a single strain of religion — rather, we welcome our nation’s symphony of faith.’’
"The New Mitt: Same as the Old Mitt"
By Scot Lehigh, The Boston Globe, Op-Ed, December 17, 2010
A WHILE back, an article about the Romney camp’s post-mortem on Mitt’s 2008 presidential run caught my eye.
Upon reflection, some members of Team Romney had apparently come to the conclusion that the Mittster had tried too hard to appeal (read: pander) to the conservative purists. Next time, some suggested, Romney would play to his strengths, establishing himself as a smart, pragmatic, solutions-oriented Mr. Fix-It.
Granted, it seemed to have taken Mitt’s inner circle an awful long time to arrive at the obvious. Still, the piece was encouraging to those who over the years have admired Romney in his various non-right-wing, non-pandering personae. His managerial talents are undeniable; they could prove a strong campaign calling card if Romney can keep his next run from becoming another credibility-eroding exercise in self-caricature. Which could be done if Romney and his team finally decide who he truly is — and apply some super-strength fixative to that identity. A difficult challenge, given the endlessly malleable and morphing Mitt of the last election cycle? No doubt. Still, in a world where scientists have succeeded in isolating and capturing anti-matter, however fleetingly, it’s surely not an impossible one.
So I’ve kept a watchful eye on the putatively non-pandering, serious, big-thinking, solution-seeking new Mitt. As far as Romney-watching goes, December has been a month to remember. Alas, it’s my sad duty to report that something seems to be amiss.
Exhibit A: Earlier this month, Romney came out against the new nuclear arms control treaty the Obama administration has negotiated with Russia. That’s odd, given the array of respected foreign-policy experts who have blessed the treaty. That list includes luminaries like George H.W. Bush. And Brent Scowcroft, who served as national security adviser to both Gerald Ford and that President Bush. And James Baker, Bush’s secretary of state. And George Shultz, secretary of state under Ronald Reagan. And Henry Kissinger, national security adviser and secretary of state during the Nixon-Ford years.
What’s more, the treaty now appears to have enough Republican senators aboard to win the two-thirds vote it needs in the Senate. So who is opposed? Mostly hard-core conservatives — the kind the New Mitt wasn’t going to pander to.
Next, Romney denounced the tax cut deal congressional Republicans cut with President Obama.
Could it be that, ace budgeteer that he is, Romney judged it unaffordable in a time of huge deficits? No, his objection was that the political pact didn’t make the Bush tax cuts permanent. Mind you, Mitt did mention the deficit, but only as ammunition for extending the tax cuts forever.
“In many cases,’’ he wrote in USA Today on Tuesday, “lowering taxes can actually increase government revenues . . . But . . . because the tax deal is temporary, a large portion of this beneficent effect is missing.’’
Actually, the assertion that income tax cuts garner the government more revenue than they cost is closer to theology than to economics. There’s widespread agreement among credible economists that, at anything near our current rates of taxation, income tax cuts do not pay for themselves.
A man as smart as Romney surely knows that. Yet by applying a dollop of supply-side snake-oil, he turned professed concern about the deficit into a disingenuous argument for a tax-cutting position whose consequences would be even more debt.
Topping it all off, Romney’s camp next announced Mitt agreed with US District Judge Henry Hudson that the individual mandate in President Obama’s new health care law is unconstitutional. But wait, wasn’t ObamaCare modeled on RomneyCare? And doesn’t RomneyCare have a similar requirement?
Now, when it comes to verbal escapes, Slick Willard, Mitt’s dodgy doppelganger, is a virtual Houdini. So you won’t want to miss the hair-splitting it will take for him to inveigh against the federal law even as he defends the state statute that served as its model.
Still, for those eagerly awaiting the new, improved 2012 Romney, a word of caution: Don’t get your hopes too high. So far, the prototype suffers from many of the same flaws that plagued the 2008 model Mitt.
Scot Lehigh can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
"Romney embarks on foreign trip"
By Matt Viser, reporter, Boston Globe Staff, January 9, 2011
Former Governor Mitt Romney is on a weeklong trip to the Middle East for a series of high-level meetings, a trip that could help bolster his foreign policy credentials as he weighs a presidential run.
Romney left on Friday for Afghanistan, Israel, Jordan, and the United Arab Emirates, according to senior adviser Eric Fehrnstrom. He is planning to meet with President Karzai of Afghanistan, Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel, and King Abdullah II of Jordan.
Among those traveling with him is Kerry Healey, who served as lieutenant governor during Romney's four-year term in Massachusetts and has had an interest on the rights of women in Afghanistan.
"The purpose of the trip is not to conduct private diplomacy but to give Governor Romney a first-hand look at what is happening in an important region of the world," Fehrnstrom said this morning.
While in Afghanistan, Romney will also train Afghans and "share with local leaders his views on issues of leadership, public service, economic opportunity and democratic participation," according to Fehrnstrom.
Romney is widely expected this spring to announce a run for the Republican presidential nomination.
Traveling with Romney on the trip are:
Ambassador Mitchell Reiss, president of Washington College in Maryland who is former State Department official under Colin Powell and traveled with Romney to China and Korea in 2006; former Senator Jim Talent, of Missouri, who was a Romney adviser during his 2008 campaign and is now a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation; Healey, who has an interest in the rights of women and justice reform in Afghanistan and was appointed by former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to a committee reviewing those issues; and Dan Senor, an adviser on Romney's 2008 campaign who is currently a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.
Fehrnstrom said the trip is being paid for through a combination of private sources, and that no government funding is involved. Romney is also paying for part of the trip himself.
The Afghanistan portion of the trip is sponsored by the International Republican Institute, a non-profit that aims to advance democracies worldwide.
The Israel portion of the trip is sponsored by the American Israel Education Foundation, which is part of the pro-Israel group American Israel Public Affairs Committee.
Matt Viser can be reached at email@example.com.
Tea Party activists in New Hampshire say the former Massachusetts governor has been largely inaccessible to them. (Mary Schwalm/Associated Press)
"Romney keeps away from Tea Party: Possible presidential contender isn’t courting activists"
By Matt Viser, Boston Globe Staff, January 21, 2011
WASHINGTON — New Hampshire Tea Party movement activist Andrew Hemingway is not lacking in contact with likely presidential candidates. He’s talked hockey with Tim Pawlenty. He sat down with former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum at the Concord Country Club. And plans are in the works for Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour to appear before a group of Hemingway’s fellow conservatives.
A notable exception among the field of would-be GOP presidential contenders? Mitt Romney.
“Romney for the most part is inaccessible,’’ said Hemingway, a Bristol resident who is chairman of the state’s Republican Liberty Caucus. “Pawlenty, I could call him right now and say, ‘Let’s have coffee.’ ’’
As the former Massachusetts governor lays the groundwork for a possible second presidential run, he has largely shunned Tea Party activists in key primary states, including the state he must win if he enters the race, New Hampshire. Thus far, Romney is on track to present himself as the establishment candidate — a responsible, mainstream Republican leader with the necessary financial resources and credentials to beat President Obama.
But the approach carries potential risks, as the insurgent Tea Party movement shifts its focus from last year’s midterms and seeks to exert its influence on the presidential election.
Even in traditionally moderate New Hampshire, the Tea Party is ascendant. It tugged the state’s GOP congressional candidates sharply rightward last year, and one of its supporters is mounting a strong challenge in tomorrow’s election for the GOP state chairmanship. In a development that was startling even for a state with the motto “Live Free or Die,’’ the Legislature recently decided that lawmakers and visitors should be allowed to carry concealed weapons in the State House.
With the primary a year away, Romney runs the risk of being out of step with the party’s most energized, conservative voters, said Dante Scala, a political science professor at the University of New Hampshire.
“That’s a perilous role to be cast in. You’d much rather, especially at this stage, be the insurgent,’’ Scala said. “It would actually help Romney if he could convince some of these newer activists, if he could show the ability to cross from the establishment wing to the avowedly antiestablishment wing.’’
If Tea Party favorite Sarah Palin were to jump into the Republican primary and seize antiestablishment energy, she likely would pose an immediate threat to Romney and the rest of the potential field in early primary states like Iowa, Nevada, South Carolina, and possibly New Hampshire.
Romney declined requests for an interview. His advisers said it is too early to speculate on the Tea Party movement’s influence on the Republican primary field or how Romney may seek to expand his appeal. Short of courting individual activists, they said he can win the support of fervent populists by talking specifically about issues that stir their passions — tackling the national debt, reducing taxes, and cutting the size of government. They also say that Romney could begin reaching out to activist leaders later.
“I would hope the kind of issues the Tea Party cares about are issues he can address and will address,’’ said Tom Rath, a senior adviser who helped run Romney’s New Hampshire primary campaign in 2008. “As to style, I don’t think you’re going to see a different persona than the persona that’s been there for 20 years. That would be jarring. That’s not going to happen.’’
Indeed, the former Bain Capital executive projects an image that is something like a red cape to the bulls of the Tea Party: wealthy, steeped in corporate culture, a one-time moderate from Massachusetts. He defends the 2008 federal bank bailout and is despised by many conservatives for leading passage of the Massachusetts plan to provide near-universal health coverage, which served as a model for President Obama’s health care overhaul last year.
“I feel strongly — strongly — that I do not want Mitt Romney as our presidential nominee,’’ said Ted Maravelias, a Tea Party activist from Windham, N.H., who is a member of the GOP state committee and said he has been impressed with the campaign of Pawlenty, the Minnesota governor. Romney is “a fraudulent conservative. I don’t trust the guy. Be it health care, be it social issues, he’s a chameleon.’’
Romney’s chief argument on health care is that the Massachusetts model he engineered works at a state level, but that Obama’s national plan infringes on states’ rights and should be repealed. Explaining this issue would be a high priority, not just in a bid to appease Tea Party activists, but to assure mainstream Republicans who also see the Obama plan as an overreach.
“The Massachusetts health care law came up in the 2008 campaign, and if Mitt Romney decides to run again, I’m sure it will be discussed again,’’ said his senior adviser, Eric Fehrnstrom.
Prospective presidential candidates (none have declared candidacy) are taking varied approaches to the Tea Party. Some, including Pawlenty, Santorum, and former House speaker Newt Gingrich, are making a strong play for Tea Party favor. Palin, the former Alaska governor, Representative Mike Pence of Indiana, and Representative Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, already boast significant insurgent support.
“I don’t necessarily think [Romney] is going to be one of those guys who goes to the Tea Party for votes the way other candidates might,’’ said Ryan Rhodes, who is chairman of the Iowa Tea Party Patriots and has been contacted by almost every presidential hopeful except Romney. “It doesn’t really fit his style of politics.’’
The measure of the Tea Party’s effectiveness in the presidential election must be viewed through the prism of early Republican primary and caucus states, which are scheduled to vote in February 2012. Groups in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada say they are mobilizing with house parties, plans to host debates, and endorsements.
Polls show few clear trends so far in the presidential primary. Romney has been shown to have a lead in New Hampshire and Nevada, while trailing former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee in Iowa. Palin is not leading in any of those states.
“Candidates like Mitt Romney are surveying a new and very different primary electorate,’’ said Fergus Cullen, a former chairman of the New Hampshire Republican Party. “They’re trying to see which strands of the conservative movement are going to have the most influence.’’
Without a Democratic primary contest in the upcoming election, Romney supporters can count on a wave of independents casting ballots in New Hampshire and South Carolina — which allow nonparty voters to participate in the primary. The diffuse nature of the Tea Party could also work to his advantage.
“Even getting the Tea Party person to endorse them I don’t know that it makes a difference,’’ said Adam Brandon, spokesman for FreedomWorks, a Washington-based Tea Party-affiliated group. “Endorsements don’t matter anymore.’’
The courting by Romney’s potential rivals has nonetheless begun in earnest. Conservative figures such as Ovide Lamontagne, who attracted Tea Party support in his narrow US Senate primary loss in New Hampshire, are hosting events at his Manchester home.
Santorum was his first guest last week. Santorum recently hired Mike Bieundo, who ran the Tea Party-backed campaign of Representative Frank Guinta, a Republican from Manchester.
“Their significance is their engagement, which they clearly demonstrated in the 2010 election,’’ Guinta said. “They’re only going to get more influential in the presidential.’’
Matt Viser can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Campaign 2012, Politics
"Romney's PAC leads the pack"
Posted by Stephanie Vallejo, By Matt Viser, Boston Globe Staff, January 31, 2011
WASHINGTON -- Former Governor Mitt Romney raised nearly $175,000 in the final five weeks of 2010 and starts out this year with $1.4 million in the bank, according to newly filed campaign disclosure forms.
His political action committee -- called the Free and Strong America PAC -- begins 2011 with more than any other prospective presidential candidate. Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin is close, with $1.3 million in her account.
Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty has nearly $155,000 in his account, while Politico is reporting that former Governor Mike Huckabee has less than $138,000 in his account. Several others, including Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, had not filed their updated forms by mid-afternoon.
The accounts are only one early gauge at the strength of a candidate, and they would form separate campaign funds when announcing a presidential bid. The latest figures come in the year-end reports that are due today at the Federal Election Commission. Much of the data had already been known, with newer figures coming in for the period from Nov. 23 to Dec. 31.
Romney took in nearly $175,500 between during that period. Romney also has five state political action committees -- in Alabama, Iowa, Michigan, New Hampshire, and South Carolina -- that took in an additional $36,000 during that time period.
All told, he has $796,200 remaining in his federal PAC, and $650,500 in those set up in the states. During the year, he donated $1.2 million to more than 500 Republican candidates and conservative causes.
Matt Viser can be reached at email@example.com.
"Mitt Romney slams Obama as a ‘weak president’"
By Holly Bailey, The Ticket, February 11, 2011
Accusing him of being a "weak" leader, Mitt Romney slammed President Obama on Friday, insisting he's done nothing to stop the "moral tragedy" of rising unemployment and that he's offered an uneven approach to foreign policy.
"An uncertain world has been made more dangerous by the lack of clear direction from a weak president," the former Massachusetts governor and 2012 hopeful said in a speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference.
In a speech clearly aimed at stirring up the GOP base, Romney trashed Obama's State of the Union, suggesting the president is merely trying to float the "appearance of change" ahead of the 2012 campaign.
"The president went from 'Change you can believe in' to 'Can you believe this change?' Romney declared.
While he made no mention of the events in Egypt, the ex-governor knocked Obama's approach toward Iran and North Korea, as well as his successful efforts to broker a new nuclear arms treaty with Russia, which Romney described as "one-sided." He suggested the White House has overseen a "we give, they get" diplomacy.
"I surely hope that at some point in the near future, the president will finally be able to construct a foreign policy, any foreign policy," Romney said, in a line that prompted much applause from the conservative crowd.
The 2012 hopeful called Obama's response to the economic crisis an "expensive failed experiment." Not surprisingly, Romney omitted any mention of "Obamacare" and his own health care efforts in Massachusetts—which White House officials have praised in recent weeks, no doubt in an effort to undermine Romney.
Strangely, Romney's speech was also packed with derogatory references to "organic" food—no doubt piggybacking on Sarah Palin's criticism of First Lady Michelle Obama's efforts to encourage healthier eating.
Speaking about massive job loss numbers during Obama's first two years in office, Romney trashed Obama for suggesting things could be worse. "This is the leader of the Free World's answer to the greatest job loss since the Great Depression? What's next? Let them eat cake?" Romney asked. "Oh, excuse me. Organic cake."
The former governor has not officially declared his bid for the 2012 GOP nomination, but has hinted he'll make an announcement soon. In the meantime, Romney unveiled a new campaign slogan this morning: "Believe in America."
"I refuse to believe that America is just another place on the map with a flag," Romney declared.
"Romney weighs in on Wisconsin battle"
Posted by Stephanie Vallejo, By Matt Viser, Boston Globe Staff, February 24, 2011
WASHINGTON – Former Governor Mitt Romney today said he would support the GOP-led fight in Wisconsin over the rights that union workers have through collective bargaining.
Romney, through his Free and Strong America Political Action Committee, said he would contribute a maximum $5,000 to the Republican Party of Wisconsin.
“Liberal big government interests are fighting efforts to rein in out-of-control public employee pay and benefits in Wisconsin,” Romney said in a statement. “It is critical that we stand with the Wisconsin GOP as it stands up for the rights of the taxpayer."
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is battling Democrats in his state over legislation that would remove many collective bargaining rights for union workers. It is turning out to be a flashpoint for both parties, with Democrats trying to rally union workers and Republicans trying to hit a message of fiscal discipline.
Several other likely presidential candidates have also been vocal in their support of Walker’s efforts.
Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty released a dramatic, campaign-style video to support the newly elected governor. Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee told reporters in Washington yesterday that his advice to Walker was, “Hang tough, stand tall, hold your ground.”
Romney’s PAC also donated to Walker during his election last year.
Matt Viser can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
"Romney says Obama missed N.H.'s message"
By Glen Johnson, Boston Globe Staff, March 5, 2011
Republican Mitt Romney says his potential presidential opponent, Democratic incumbent Barack Obama, may have campaigned in New Hampshire in 2008 but didn't internalize the message of the "Live Free-or-Die" state.
In excerpts of remarks the former Massachusetts governor is slated to deliver tonight at the Carroll County Lincoln Day Dinner in Bartlett, N.H., Romney says: "Senator Obama campaigned hard in New Hampshire but he apparently didn’t like what he saw. He certainly didn’t learn from it. Instead of lowering taxes, he raised them. He wrapped businesses in red tape, he grew government, he borrowed trillions of dollars, and he made it clear that he doesn’t like business people very much."
Romney says that has triggered a "deeper recession" that delayed the nation's economic recovery.
"The consequence is soaring numbers of Americans enduring unemployment, foreclosures and bankruptcies," say the excerpts, which were provided to the Globe. "This is the 'Obama Misery Index,' and it is at a record high. It’s going to take more than new rhetoric to put Americans back to work — it’s going to take a new president."
Romney has yet to formally declare if he will launch a follow-up to his unsuccessful 2008 presidential campaign, but his spokesman offered a fresh take on his timetable.
"I don't know precisely when Governor Romney will announce a decision about his future plans, but I feel confident that when he does it, they'll be playing baseball at Fenway Park and the snow will be gone and the sun will be shining warmer on our faces," said spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom.
The Boston Red Sox open their home baseball schedule on April 8 when they host the New York Yankees.
Romney, a former venture capitalist, has argued that the country needs someone with a business background as it rebounds from the Great Recession. In his remarks, he underscores the point.
"We need to stop penalizing companies that want to invest in America," he says. "Right now, we tax companies who make money overseas if they want to bring it home, but we don’t tax them if they keep their money abroad. That makes no sense at all. We want that money here, invested in new factories, new equipment, and new jobs."
Romney adds: "How much money do American companies store overseas that’s waiting to come back? Estimates range as high as $1 trillion. Bringing a trillion dollars back to the United States will create hundreds of thousands — or even millions of good, permanent, private sector jobs."
The dinner speech marks Romney's second visit to New Hampshire this year. On January 31, he made a private trip in which he met with small business leaders in Manchester and job re-trainees at Nashua Community College.
In 2010, he made four campaign visits over five days. Romney also continues to own a vacation home overlooking New Hampshire's Lake Winnipesaukee.
In addition, Romney's so-called "leadership" political action committee, the Free and Strong America PAC, donated $86,335 to various candidates and Republican committees in New Hampshire during 2010. The biggest recipient was the state committee's non-federal account, to which the PAC donated $15,000.
Romney also sprinkled $500 and $1,000 checks on individual candidates across the street.
Glen Johnson can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.
"Romney takes major step toward presidential run"
Philip Elliott, Associated Press, April 11, 2011
WASHINGTON – Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, the closest to a front-runner in a wide-open Republican field, took a major step toward a second White House candidacy Monday, formally announcing a campaign exploratory committee.
Romney declared that "with able leadership, America's best days are still ahead," vigorously asserting that President Barack Obama had failed to provide it.
The Republican, who has been plotting a comeback since losing the GOP presidential nomination to John McCain three years ago, offered himself as the person best able to lead a country struggling to recover from economic crisis.
"It is time that we put America back on a course of greatness with a growing economy, good jobs and fiscal discipline in Washington," Romney, a former venture capitalist with a record of turning around failing companies, said in a video posted on his website and on Facebook. He also announced the formation of the committee, which will allow him to raise money, in a Twitter message.
Romney's move had been expected and a full-fledged campaign is a near certainty. He has traveled across the country to meet in private with donors and sound out their support. His political committee's headquarters near Boston has been bulking up. And in his few public appearances, he has honed his criticism of Obama.
Romney's strengths are substantial: He's well known and he's an experienced campaigner. He has a personal fortune and an existing network of donors. He has a successful businessman's record.
But his challenges are big, too. They include a record of changing positions on social issues including abortion and gay rights, shifts that have left conservatives questioning his sincerity. He also has struggled to allay some skeptics of his Mormon faith.
Romney oversaw a health care law enacted in Massachusetts that's similar to Obama's national health overhaul, which conservatives despise. His announcement video didn't mention either law.
He invested more than $40 million of his own money in the 2008 race and counted on early wins in Iowa and New Hampshire that never materialized. He tried to run to the right of the pack but couldn't persuade enough GOP primary voters.
Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty has also taken the initial steps toward a White House run in 2012, setting up an exploratory committee. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is laying the groundwork for an early May announcement.
Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania and Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann are also putting together political machines for potential presidential runs.
All are auditioning for the chance to take on Obama, who is seeking a second term asking voters to let him finish the job he won in 2008. An ailing economy and an anxious electorate both dog the president, who won election on the promise of change but now has a record that defines him.
Romney hammered Obama's stewardship of the economy and offered a preview of his expected campaign theme: He is a proven business executive while Obama remains unqualified to repair a fractured economy.
"President Obama's policies have failed. He and virtually all the people around him have never worked in the real economy. They just don't know how jobs are created in the private sector."
Then Romney makes the case for himself.
"From my vantage point in business and in government, I have become convinced that America has been put on a dangerous course by Washington politicians, and it has become even worse during the last two years," he said. "But I am also convinced that with able leadership, America's best days are still ahead."
Romney, the son of a former governor of Michigan, met his future wife when he was 18 and she was 15, just before he departed for college and then more than two years of Mormon missionary work in France. The couple had five sons, while Mitt Romney went on to earn millions as a business consultant and venture capitalist.
While heading Bain Capital, he helped launch the Staples office supply chain, as well as buy Domino's Pizza.
His public career began in 1999, when he was recruited to take over the 2002 Winter Olympics after scandal and financial deficits threatened the Salt Lake City games.
In 2003, he took over as governor of Massachusetts after a campaign in which he cast himself as a moderate on abortion, gay rights and stem cell research. He had sounded many of the same themes during an unsuccessful 1994 U.S. Senate race against Democrat Edward M. Kennedy.
He chose not to seek a second term and instead turned his sights to the White House.
"Romney Questioned on Critique of Economy Under Obama"
By JIM RUTENBERG, New York Times, July 5, 2011
HAMPTON, N.H. — For much of this year, Mitt Romney has laid low, seeking to reap the benefits of being the presumed front-runner in the race for the Republican presidential nomination (strong fund-raising, positive polling) without suffering the downsides (intensive news media scrutiny, endless shelling from rivals).
But as Mr. Romney has finally started to campaign in earnest over the past couple of weeks, the dangers of his perceived leading status are coming into view, with a more intense focus on his every word. And in the past few days, it has revolved around three words in particular: “things are worse.”
During his campaign swing through this crucial state this week, Mr. Romney has been faced with repeated questions about the consistency of his commentary on President Obama’s handling of the recession and the subsequent economic recovery.
To recap: On Thursday, when asked by a journalist in Pennsylvania to jibe his assertions that “things are worse” under Mr. Obama with various signs of economic improvement since the president took office, Mr. Romney replied, “I didn’t say things are worse,” adding, “What I said was the economy hasn’t turned around.” Democrats accused him of “flip-flopping” on a central assertion of his candidacy.
Attending Fourth of July festivities in New Hampshire on Monday, Mr. Romney reasserted that “the recession is deeper because of our president” and that the recovery was more anemic because of him as well. (The recession was declared officially over as of June 2009, but the recovery, especially in employment, has been weak and inconsistent.)
At a town-hall-style meeting on Tuesday in his vacation town of Wolfeboro, N.H., Mr. Romney filled out his economic case against Mr. Obama, saying his early moves scared businesses out of spending money and hiring. He cited Mr. Obama’s ultimately abandoned pursuit of cap-and-trade environmental legislation and financial sector regulatory changes as being among the culprits.
His latest formulation on Mr. Obama and the economy raised a new question from a reporter at a briefing at the Galley Hatch restaurant here, where he had met with friendly local officials and small-business owners to discuss their economic troubles. Given that Mr. Romney has used a present-tense formulation to say, for instance, “the recession is deeper” and the recovery slower because of Mr. Obama, the reporter asked, “Is it your view that it’s possible to be both in recession and recovery at the same time?”
“The technical term of the recession is not the one that I think the American people recognize,” Mr. Romney said, defining that as “a shrinking G.D.P.” Rather, he said, “I think most of the American people understand that we’re still feeling the effects of the recession and that the recovery that comes from a recession, which has been under way for some time, has not occurred as they would have expected it to occur.”
Democrats have tried to use Mr. Romney’s shifts in wording to raise a theme that has dogged him since his presidential campaign four years ago — inconsistency — issuing news release after news release pointing out his latest comments, including one Tuesday that read, “Romney Flip-Flops at N.H. Town Hall.”
Advisers to Mr. Romney said they were hardly fretting, arguing that the whole flare-up has kept the debate right where they want it, on the slowness of the recovery and Mr. Romney’s critique of Mr. Obama.
As Kevin Madden, an informal adviser and Mr. Romney’s campaign spokesman in 2008, put it, “They’re actually spending time litigating whether the economy is worse under Obama, or if it’s just bad.”
Of course, before Mr. Romney can truly focus on Mr. Obama he has a few other people to worry about: the other major Republican candidates who are not exactly ready to cede the nomination to him just yet.
"Romney defends ‘corporations are people’ remark"
By Sarah Schweitzer, Boston Globe Staff, August 12, 2011
MANCHESTER, N.H. – At a friendly Republican gathering here tonight, presidential candidate Mitt Romney defended his recent comment in Iowa that “corporations are people” and said Democrats fundamentally misunderstand corporations’ makeup. “Businesses are people,” he said.
“What do they think they are? Little men from Mars?” Romney said at the home of Ovide Lamontagne, a prominent New Hampshire Republican and former Senate candidate.
Romney said the Obama administration’s view of business is antiquated and stuck in the 1960s.
“At that time, there was a sentiment somehow that businesses were bad, that it was anti-people. And the Obama administration seems to think that the 60s is here again. Business is good. I am talking about repair shops and gas stations and beauty salons and restaurants. I am talking about Apple Computer and Facebook and Microsoft,” Romney said.
"Romney’s net worth pegged at $190-$250M"
By Matt Viser, Boston Globe Staff, August 12, 2011
DES MOINES – Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is worth between $190 million and $250 million, his campaign said today after filing a personal financial disclosure statement with the Federal Election Commission.
That dollar figure would make him the wealthiest candidate in the 2012 White House race, eclipsing President Obama and with his only possible rival being former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman, who has yet to release his disclosure form. He is among the heirs to the Huntsman Corp. fortune.
Romney’s statement provides the most detailed look yet at the former venture capitalist’s finances during the past four years yet shows his net worth essentially unchanged over that time.
Although rendered in broad ranges, the release suggests that his income was not hit the same way many Americans experienced the downturn in the economy. Romney has never released his tax returns, and has declined requests to do so this year, which would offer a fuller picture of his fortune.
Romney, who was criticized earlier this year for saying to a group of voters that he was “unemployed,” earned nearly $114,000 last year for serving on the board at Marriott International.
In the past year, Romney also received substantial speaking fees, including from some financial firms that he has sought to protect from more government regulations. For those speaking engagements, he was paid anywhere from $11,475 to speak at Claremont McKenna College in Claremont, Calif., to $68,000 to speak at the National Franchisee Association in Las Vegas.
He was also was paid speaking fees by Barclay’s Bank, Goldentree Asset Management, HP Healthcare Services, and Quest Educational Foundation. A Get Motivated Seminar, via satellite link in Boston, yielded $29,750 for Romney.
“He has occasionally received compensation for speeches and those have been disclosed in accordance with the law,” said Gail Gitcho, the Romney campaign’s communications director.
Romney’s wife, Ann, also owns horses in California worth between $250,001 and $500,000, according to the forms.
Ann Romney has frequently promoted the use of horse riding as a therapeutic way of coping with multiple sclerosis, from which she suffers. The horses she owns engage in competitions and earn prizes, according to Gitcho, so they are required to disclose Romney’s share of an limited liability company that owns them.
The Romneys also have investments in a wide range of areas, including consumer staples like electronics and office supplies, large oil companies, and financial, health care, and telecommunications companies.
His investments are held in a blind trust, which he created when he became governor of Massachusetts in January 2003. The trustee is Brad Malt, at the Boston office of the law firm Ropes & Gray.
“They do not control the investment of these assets,” Gitcho said in a statement. “The assets are under the control and overall management of a trustee.”
The Romneys also have more than $1 million invested in Solamere Founders Fund, which is run by the eldest of their five sons, Tagg, and hold between $250,001 and $500,000 in gold metal.
Mitt Romney has between $250,001 and $500,000 in Bank of America cash accounts, and he continues to earn millions from a retirement deal with Bain Capital, the venture firm that he started in 1984 and left in 1999.
Romney also earned between $100,001 and $1 million in profits from his book, “No Apologies.” That money was divided evenly among six charities: Joey Fund, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Sabin Children’s Foundation, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Dana Farber Cancer Institute Jimmy Fund, and Homes for Our Troops.
In 2010, Mitt Romney donated his book profits to three different charities: Homes for Our Troops, Dana Farber Cancer Institute Jimmy Fund, and Boston Boys & Girls Club.
The form filed with the FEC today indicated that the Romneys had financial holdings in a range of between $85 million and $264 million. The campaign said a more accurate range was between $190 million and $250 million, but would not provide any further detail.
Romney so far has not put any of his own money into his presidential campaign, as he did four years ago.
About half of the holdings four years ago belonged to Mitt Romney, and theoretically could have been liquidated and used for his campaign. The other half belonged to his wife. The campaign yesterday would not say whether the split continues to be about half-and-half.
All federal candidates are required to file the disclosures within 30 days of declaring their candidates, but they can seek two 45-day extensions, which Romney did.
That meant Romney’s forms were due on a Friday – typically a day when politicians announce news they don’t want to promote – and when the political class was consumed with the Iowa Straw Poll taking place tomorrow.
Matt Viser can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
"Romney to nearly quadruple mansion’s size"
Washington Post - August 22, 2011
WASHINGTON - Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is planning to nearly quadruple the size of his $12 million California beachfront mansion.
The former Massachusetts governor is planning to bulldoze his 3,009-square-foot home facing the Pacific Ocean in La Jolla, Calif., and replace it with an 11,062-square-foot home, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.
The Union-Tribune reported late Saturday that Romney has filed an application with the city for a coastal development permit but that no date has been set to consider the project.
A Romney campaign official confirmed the report, saying the Romneys want to “enlarge their two-bedroom home because with five married sons and 16 grandchildren it is inadequate for their needs. Construction will not begin until the permits have been obtained and the campaign is finished.’’
In 2008, Republican presidential nominee John McCain was criticized and mocked when he said he was unsure how many houses he and his wife, Cindy, owned. The answer was eight.
Since then, perhaps sensing that the issue could be a liability for him, too, Romney has consolidated his real estate portfolio. Romney and his wife, Ann, sold for $3.5 million the 6,500-square-foot colonial home in Belmont, Mass. They also sold a 9,500-square-foot home at Deer Valley ski resort near Park City, Utah, for close to its $5.25 million asking price, according to a 2010 Associated Press report.
The couple maintain a vacation home along Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire, as well as a townhouse outside Boston that they consider their primary residence.
Romney - who made part of his fortune as cofounder of Bain Capital, a private equity firm - and his wife have personal financial assets worth as much as $264 million, according to disclosure documents filed with the Federal Election Commission this month.
Romney’s campaign said “a more accurate range’’ of his estimated wealth is between $190 million and $250 million.
The Romneys have spent considerable time at their home in La Jolla, a wealthy beach enclave in San Diego. Two of their sons, Matt and Craig, as well as several grandchildren live in the area. And Ann Romney, who has multiple sclerosis, has access to horse riding in California. She believes that riding and the warmer weather have a therapeutic effect.
The Romneys purchased the single-story residence three years ago, according to the Union-Tribune.
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney spoke at a South Carolina forum last night before flying to Nevada today to deliver a speech focused on job creation. Stephen Morton/Getty Images
"Romney outlines jobs plan before debate, president"
Boston.com - Political Intelligence - By Matt Viser, Boston Globe Staff - September 6, 2011
NORTH LAS VEGAS, Nevada – Mitt Romney this afternoon called for a reduction in corporate taxes, an immediate $20 billion in federal budget cuts, and a plan that would convert Medicaid into a federal block grant program that would be administered by the states.
In a major policy address at a truck dealership here, the Republican presidential contender offered his most detailed prescription for the economy as he seeks to cast himself as the one with the business skills to nurse the country’s ailing economy back to life.
He is also attempting to set the tone for the conversation during a major GOP debate tomorrow night at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif., and just two days before President Obama makes a speech on the economy before a joint session of Congress.
“We should have a job-creating machine in America,” Romney said. “Growth is the answer. Not government.”
Waving an iPhone, he declared: “President Obama’s strategy is a pay-phone strategy in a smart-phone world.”
Romney’s plan, outlined in a 160-page book distributed ahead of his speech, proposes significantly expanding areas available to energy companies, including drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, Alaska, and the Outer Continental Shelf. He would also attempt to severely limit any new federal regulations by not providing new funding for implementation.
If elected, Romney says he would submit a jobs package on his first day in office consisting of five proposals. That legislation would reduce the corporate income tax rate to 25 percent; implement free trade agreements with Columbia, Panama, and South Korea; and direct the Department of the Interior to work with energy companies to survey energy reserves and lease all areas currently approved for exploration.
He would also immediately cut non-defense spending by 5 percent, reducing the federal budget by $20 billion. He would also cap spending at 20 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product.
Romney also reiterated that he would work to repeal Obama’s health care law, as well as the “Dodd-Frank” Wall Street reform law co-authored by US Representative Barney Frank of Newton.
Romney would also restructure the tax code, eliminating the so-called estate taxes on inheritances, as well as taxes on interest, dividends, and capital gains for low- and middle-income taxpayers. His plan does not offer a specific plan on the marginal income tax rate, saying only that he would “explore opportunities” to lower it.
The former Massachusetts governor has generally taken a low-key approach to campaigning, but much of that shifted today for what his campaign viewed as one of the most important speeches yet. In contrast to a speech he gave on health care four months ago – delivered in a dark lecture hall at the University of Michigan – today’s speech was high on stagecraft.
He appeared on a bright stage, surrounded by seven giant trucks, an American flag painted on metal cages, and a large banner that read, “Day One, Job One.” His campaign distributed paperback books for the occasion that were titled, “Believe in America: Mitt Romney’s Plan for Jobs and Economic Growth.” Romney took the stage to the upstage country music of Alabama’s “Roll On.”
Romney also boasted that he was speaking without a TelePrompTer, as Obama often does, and instead referring to some scribbled notes on a legal pad.
Romney’s attempt to cast himself as an economic maestro is already become a focal point from his Republican opponents, who are criticizing his record and promoting their own.
Texas Governor Rick Perry, who has immediately surged to the top of the polls despite announcing his candidacy less than four weeks ago, has been touting his performance in Texas.
As an indication of the further perils for Romney, another one of his rivals today began challenging the former governor and his record as a job-creator in Massachusetts. Former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman – in an and called “#1 vs. #47” – sought to draw attention to the Bay State’s poor ranking as a job creating state during Romney’s four year term.
The ad doesn’t mention Romney by name, but says, “Another governor led Massachusetts, led them close to the very bottom.” It called Romney’s “one of the saddest records” and called it “sadly similar to that of Obama’s.”
Romney also announced his economic policy team today, which consists of R. Glenn Hubbard, dean of the Columbia Business School who was chairman of President Bush’s council of economic advisers from 2001 to 2003; Gregory Mankiw, an economics professor at Harvard University who was chairman of President Bush’s council of economic advisers from 2003 to 2005; former Senator Jim Talent, of Missouri; and former Representative Vin Weber, of Minnesota.
Each member of the quartet has been active in Romney’s circle previously, although Weber had been a top adviser to former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty’s presidential campaign until it was suspended last month.
Matt Viser can be reached at email@example.com.
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney delivered his first major foreign policy address to cadets at The Citadel in Charleston, S.C., yesterday. In his speech, Romney accused President Obama of damaging US credibility and global standing. (Richard Ellis/Getty Images)
"In speech, Romney vows vast military growth - Romney: Obama is damaging US credibility"
By Theo Emery, Boston Globe Staff, October 7, 2011
WASHINGTON — Mitt Romney uncorked a withering broadside against what he called President Obama’s “feckless’’ foreign policy yesterday and detailed his own plans, which position the GOP presidential contender as a champion of a muscular military policy and an aggressive global reach.
“I will not surrender America’s role in the world. This is very simple: If you do not want America to be the strongest nation on earth, I’m not your president. You have that president today,’’ the former Massachusetts governor said in what his campaign called a major foreign policy address at The Citadel in South Carolina.
In addition to the criticism aimed at the president, as well as barely concealed jabs at his fellow GOP candidates, Romney laid out an eight-point foreign policy platform that he pledged to undertake in his first 100 days as president.
Some of the elements centered on building America’s military might, including accelerating the construction of Navy vessels and reinvigorating the nation’s missile defense program. On Thursday, Romney had also called for boosting troop levels by 100,000.
“God did not create this country to be a nation of followers,’’ Romney said, adding “America must lead the world, or someone else will.’’
The speech was well received by the cadets. Afterward, some conservatives lauded Romney’s message.
Danielle Pletka, vice president for foreign and defense policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute, said Romney did a good job providing a forceful, detailed policy that answers critics who say he has been short on details.
“This is the kind of competence and leadership that people like to see,’’ she said. “I commend him and his campaign for being smart and being out front.’’
Romney gave few clues of how he would pay for the proposals, beyond a brief mention in a fact sheet of reinvesting money saved from efficiencies found in the procurement process and in staffing. Such a spending spree in a time of budget austerity could expose Romney, who has focused his campaign on accentuating his business acumen, to criticism over his priorities.
As part of a debt reduction law passed in August, the Pentagon has agreed to cuts of $350 billion in its projected growth over the next decade. Defense officials are digging in just to prevent further cuts.
Romney’s proposals are “totally unrealistic,’’ said Lawrence J. Korb, who served as an assistant secretary of defense under President Reagan and is now a senior fellow at the liberal Center for American Progress. Depending on what new ships are ordered, the cost of beefing up the Navy could double the approximately $13 billion now spent for naval acquisitions and adding 100,000 troops would probably cost $15 billion a year, Korb said.
“It’s playing to people who don’t recognize the reality of the world - that we have to get our deficit under control in order to get back our ability to influence events in the world,’’ he said. “To say I’m going to build more military things doesn’t help you do that.’’
Robert L. Bixby, executive director of the Concord Coalition, a nonpartisan group dedicated to fiscal responsibility, said Romney’s proposals sounded like “a very pricey agenda.’’
“The government is hemorrhaging cash, with deficits over a trillion dollars a year, and certainly you have a war-weary public,’’ he said. “It just doesn’t seem very realistic to be thinking of a big military build up.’’
On the key foreign policy issue of today, the Afghanistan war, Romney offered little insight into his thinking, saying only he would review the planned drawdown of forces there and make a decision about force levels “free from politics.’’
He had been criticized by some conservatives for previously saying the troops should come home as soon as possible.
The speech capped a carefully calculated rollout of Romney’s national security and foreign policy positions, making him the first in the current field of GOP candidates to do so. On Thursday morning, he announced his advisory team, which included experts in defense, diplomacy, and counterterrorism, including many from George W. Bush’s presidency. He then delivered a speech aboard an aircraft carrier in Charleston. Yesterday’s speech followed at The Citadel, the storied military college where Bush also delivered a major campaign speech in 1999 about the decline of the military.
Michael Mandelbaum, professor of American foreign policy at Johns Hopkins’ School of Advanced International Studies, said the setting for the speech was important on several fronts.
“The ability to be commander in chief is the more important test for the Republicans than for the Democrats,’’ he said. “The Citidel is a military school, and South Carolina is an important primary, and it has military installations and voters who care about this.’’
The Obama campaign fired back at Romney’s criticisms, saying that the speech “raised real questions about his capacity to lead this country and wage the fight against terrorism.’’ The president has degraded Al Qaeda, eliminated Osama bin Laden, and ended the war in Iraq while strengthening US standing in the world, campaign secretary Ben LaBolt said in a statement.
Foreign policy has so far not been a prominent factor in the GOP race to challenge Obama, despite the fact that the nation is winding down two wars, has committed resources to the effort to topple Libyan ruler Moammar Khadafy, and is closely scrutinizing the Pentagon budget.
Instead, voters’ anxiety over jobs and the stagnant economy has dominated the discussions.
“The calculation that many of the campaigns have been making is that there aren’t many votes to be gained by talking about foreign policy,’’ said Jamie M. Fly, executive director of the conservative Foreign Policy Initiative. Members of the group’s board are advising Romney.
In addition to Romney, former Utah governor Jon M. Huntsman Jr. plans a speech on foreign policy. Huntsman, who has lagged in the polls, is scheduled to make the address in New Hampshire on Monday, the day before the candidates’ next debate.
Political analysts say that articulating a nuanced foreign policy stance has become more difficult with the increased clout of Tea Party activists, who have ratcheted up tensions between Republicans who want a robust military presence and those who argue that the United States can no longer afford it.
Some activists argue that the nation is spread too thin across the globe, maintains foreign bases that are holdovers from long-passed threats, and should reduce its military footprint and foreign aid.
“You’re hearing more isolationist voices in that party, and that to me is a grave danger to our country,’’ said R. Nicholas Burns, a former undersecretary of state and a professor of diplomacy and international politics at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.
The most vocal of such candidates is Texas Republican Ron Paul, a libertarian with an impassioned base of followers. Paul argues that the United States needs to sharply reduce military spending.
Romney yesterday warned against such a position. “This is America’s moment. We should embrace the challenge, not shrink from it, not crawl into an isolationist shell, not wave the white flag of surrender, nor give in to those who assert America’s moment has passed,’’ he said. “That is utter nonsense.’’
Theo Emery can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @temery.
"Out of bounds! Romney distorts Obama's words"
McClatchy Newspapers - November 22, 2011
WASHINGTON — Throw the flag against: Mitt Romney.
Call: Illegal substitution.
What happened: With President Barack Obama in New Hampshire on Tuesday pitching his jobs package, Mitt Romney unleashed his first TV ad of the campaign, a blistering attack on Obama's economic policies.
Romney's campaign says the 60-second ad is aimed at contrasting "candidate Obama from 2008 with President Obama of today and highlights his failures in between."
It opens with footage of a 2008 campaign speech by Obama interspersed with photos of shuttered businesses and homes under foreclosure. The words "He Failed" flash across the screen, along with "Greatest Jobs Crisis Since Great Depression" and "Record National Debt."
Obama is heard to say: "Thank you New Hampshire. How is everybody doing today? I am confident that we can steer ourselves out of this crisis. Who's been in charge of the economy? We need a rescue plan for the middle class. We need to provide relief for homeowners. It's going take a new direction. If we keep talking about the economy, we're going to lose."
It's the last sentence — with the word "lose, lose," repeated in an echo, that crosses the line.
Democrats immediately charged Romney with distorting Obama's words and deceiving voters. Obama in that 2008 speech was quoting an adviser to his Republican opponent John McCain, saying — in full — that "Sen. McCain's campaign actually said, and I quote, 'If we keep talking about the economy, we're going to lose.'"
Democrats said taking the words out of context makes it appear as though Obama was talking about himself — and that he's afraid to discuss the economy.
Romney spokeswoman Gail Gitcho acknowledged in a blog posting that the quote was derived from Obama, who "mocked his opponent's campaign for saying 'if we keep talking about the economy, we're going to lose.'"
"Now, the tables have turned," she wrote. "President Obama and his campaign are doing exactly what candidate Obama criticized. President Obama and his team don't want to talk about the economy and have tried to distract voters from President Obama's abysmal economic record."
It's misleading to use Obama's partial 2008 quote about McCain's adviser to trick viewers into thinking Obama was talking about himself. He wasn't.
Still, that might be inside the bounds of contemporary smash-mouth politics if the Romney campaign's rationale for it were true, but it's not: Although he's suggested that the U.S. economy has been battered by factors he inherited and outside his control, Obama has addressed the U.S. economic situation almost daily since proposing in September a $447 billion plan aimed at sparking job creation. He talked about the economy on his visit to New Hampshire again on Tuesday, acknowledging that "many Americans have spent months looking for work, and others are doing the best they can to get by."
Penalty: Set the Romney campaign's credibility back 15 yards.
Mitt Romney wins Iowa by 8 votes on January 3, 2012.
Mitt Romney spoke during his primary night rally with members of his family at Southern New Hampshire University in Manchester, N.H.
"Romney Wins G.O.P. Primary in New Hampshire"
By JEFF ZELENY, N.Y. Times, January 10, 2012
MANCHESTER, N.H. — Mitt Romney swept to victory in the New Hampshire primary on Tuesday, turning back a ferocious assault from rivals who sought to disqualify him in the eyes of conservatives, in a contest that failed to anoint a strong opponent to slow his march to the Republican nomination.
Mr. Romney, a former governor of Massachusetts, won by a double-digit margin, a validation of his strategy to use his neighboring state to cement his standing as the front-runner. The candidates who had hoped to use the primary to emerge as his leading rival fared poorly, leaving a fractured Republican opposition.
“Tonight we celebrate. Tomorrow we go back to work,” said Mr. Romney, who strode into his victory party at Southern New Hampshire University less than 30 minutes after the final polls closed to present himself as the candidate to beat for the Republican nomination.
Representative Ron Paul of Texas, whose candidacy has never concerned Mr. Romney, finished second. Former Gov. Jon M. Huntsman Jr. of Utah, who staked his entire campaign here, placed a distant third but pledged to fight on.
A week after winning the Iowa caucuses by just eight votes, Mr. Romney pieced together a coalition of moderate and conservative voters. The margin was more comfortable than commanding, but he will benefit handsomely by having five rivals still competing against one another to emerge as his main opponent as the race moves to South Carolina.
By Wednesday morning, many candidates had already moved their campaigns south, with a full schedule of stops planned throughout the state.
While declaring victory in New Hampshire, Mr. Romney delivered a pointed message to his fellow Republican candidates. After struggling in the final hours of the campaign here to ward off attacks from rivals portraying him as an elitist who killed jobs during his high-flying days at a corporate takeover firm, he warned them not to play into President Obama’s hands by trying to destroy his candidacy.
“In the last few days, we have seen some desperate Republicans join forces with him,” Mr. Romney said. “This is such a mistake for our party and for our nation. This country already has a leader who divides us with the bitter politics of envy.”
His words were directed squarely at Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker, who accused Mr. Romney of presiding over the “looting” of companies. The attacks did not seem to help elevate Mr. Gingrich’s candidacy. He was locked in a close race for fourth place with former Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, who refrained from adding his voice to the attacks on Mr. Romney’s business background.
A prevailing sense among New Hampshire primary voters that Mr. Romney is the Republican candidate most likely to defeat Mr. Obama helped lift him to victory. He did well among those who consider the economy the most important issue, according to exit polls, and among Catholics and more affluent voters.
Mr. Romney moved to quickly set the tone of the night, accepting victory and delivering a speech with broad themes of the general election, well before the size of his winning margin was known. It was an attempt to take control of the race before confronting his biggest test in the first Southern primary.
“Tonight, we are asking the good people of South Carolina to join the citizens of New Hampshire and make 2012 the year he runs out of time,” Mr. Romney said, referring again and again to Mr. Obama, but not acknowledging any of his Republican opponents by name.
Mr. Romney intends to convey his muscle in the race on Wednesday by announcing his fund-raising figure from the final three months of last year, when he raised at least $23 million. He is set to roll out endorsements and advertisements during the 10-day spring toward the South Carolina primary, even as he begins his push for the Florida primary on Jan. 31.
The result of the New Hampshire primary left the rest of the field in such disarray — particularly given the poor showings of Mr. Huntsman and Mr. Santorum — that it was hard to see the day as anything short of a major victory for Mr. Romney. His aides have long made clear that they would welcome running against Mr. Paul, whose support is largely built around his libertarian views.
Mr. Paul, the only Republican candidate to rival Mr. Romney in the breadth of his organization across the country, congratulated Mr. Romney on his triumph and pledged to press forward with his campaign, declaring, “We have had a victory for the cause of liberty tonight.”
Mr. Huntsman, who logged more miles in New Hampshire than any other candidate, vowed to stay in the race. His advisers conceded that his bank account was dry and his path to victory was unclear, but he vowed to continue to South Carolina.
“Ladies and gentlemen, I think we’re in the hunt,” Mr. Huntsman said, speaking to his supporters in Manchester. “I’d say third place is a ticket to ride, ladies and gentlemen. Hello, South Carolina.”
Mr. Santorum and Mr. Gingrich delivered speeches at the same time on Tuesday evening, not conceding defeat, but arguing that the race was only beginning. They thanked the voters of New Hampshire before dashing off to South Carolina, where they hoped the electorate would be more welcoming to their message.
“We have an opportunity to be the true conservative to do what’s necessary,” said Mr. Santorum, who had hoped his strong second-place finish in Iowa would keep his candidacy alive. He reassured his supporters, “We can win this race.”
Mr. Gingrich, who came under withering criticism from influential Republicans, showed no signs of relenting in his attacks on Mr. Romney. A “super PAC” supporting his candidacy is airing television advertisements bolstering his argument against Mr. Romney in South Carolina.
“I believe we can reach out and create a majority that will shock the country and a majority that will continue to put us on the right track,” Mr. Gingrich said. “It is doable. It is a daunting challenge, but consider the alternative.”
Gov. Rick Perry of Texas, who abandoned his effort in New Hampshire to try to salvage his candidacy in South Carolina, argued at a campaign stop on Tuesday that corporate takeover firms like Mr. Romney’s Bain Capital were “vultures” that pick struggling companies clean and leave local communities to pick up the pieces.
“They’re vultures that are sitting out there on the tree limb waiting for the company to get sick,” Mr. Perry told a crowd in Fort Mill, S.C. “And then they swoop in, they eat the carcass, they leave with that, and they leave the skeleton.”
The results of surveys of voters leaving the polls in New Hampshire found that nearly half of the primary voters on Tuesday identify themselves as independents and half consider themselves Republican. Just over half of the voters said they were conservative on most political matters, while more than one-third said they were moderate.
Mr. Romney, who owns a house in the state and spent four years as the governor of neighboring Massachusetts, was considered a favorite son here. His advantages were abundant, but there was one obstacle that loomed larger than any of his Republican rivals: the inclination of New Hampshire to knock a front-runner down to size.
Yet that did not happen.
Kevin Kobylinski, a manager at a medical company, said he voted for Mr. Obama in 2008 when he lived in California. But he decided to vote for Mr. Romney in the Republican primary here, declaring, “I would like to see a competitive election.”
Reporting was contributed by Trip Gabriel and Nicholas Confessore in Manchester, N.H., and Dalia Sussman and Allison Kopicki in New York.
"FACT CHECK: All's not well for 'King of Bain'"
By CALVIN WOODWARD | Associated Press – January 15, 2012
WASHINGTON (AP) — It's become a case of the unsubstantiated vs. the discredited.
Mitt Romney's never-supported boast to have created more than 100,000 jobs as a venture capitalist has been countered by an attack film so flawed that the Republican presidential rival it was meant to help, Newt Gingrich, has asked the sponsoring political action committee to correct it or take it out of circulation.
Meanwhile, voters are no farther ahead in knowing whether Romney's work at Bain Capital — a complex record of company start-ups, revivals, flops and shutdowns — cost more jobs than it created, though there is gathering evidence it was not as rosy as he has portrayed.
Into the mix: "King of Bain: When Mitt Romney Came to Town," a dark tale casting Romney as a rapacious profiteer who makes vultures look like songbirds.
The 28-minute film, bankrolled by the Gingrich-friendly Winning Our Future super PAC, blames Romney for company shutdowns he had no part in and twists interviews with laid-off factory workers to convey resentments against him that didn't exist.
Just as Romney ignored the negative side of the ledger in his bragging, the film ignores the positive side. It does not back up its claim that "nearly every US state experienced job loss from the actions of Bain Capital under Mitt Romney." That assertion might be true if the closure of a national toy retailer counts, but Romney left Bain's management before it purchased, much less dismantled, KB Toys.
"King of Bain" presents four case studies of plants or companies shut by Romney and Bain, but three of the closures happened after he left.
Despite Gingrich's appeal to correct or take down the ads, by law he can't direct the actions of a super PAC. Ads drawn from "King of Bain" stand to benefit him — by denigrating Romney — for as long as they are running in the South Carolina primary campaign. The PAC said it will fix any errors if Romney answers several questions to help determine what is wrong, an approach that buys time for the ads.
Absent Romney's response, "we stand by the film" and "absolutely" will keep running it, Rick Tyler, senior adviser to Winning Our Future, said on "Fox News Sunday," even while acknowledging "hyperbole" in one claim it makes.
A look at some of the film's claims and how they compare with the facts.
UNIMAC CORP.: "Romney and Bain upended the company and gutted the workforce."
THE FACTS: Romney left Bain management a year after his company bought the Marianna, Fla., plant and seven years before it was shut. Moreover, Bain didn't do it. Bain sold the plant to a Canadian concern in 2005. A year after that, the new owners closed the plant and moved operations — manufacturing commercial laundry equipment — to Wisconsin, where it remains in business. Romney ceased operational control of Bain in February 1999, when he left to run the 2002 Olympics, and severed remaining legal ties with the company in 2001.
The film has interviews with three former plant workers, who are presented as if they lost their UniMac jobs under Bain. But all three told The Wall Street Journal they received pay raises and multiple promotions while Bain owned the plant and hold no grudge against Romney or his old company. They said they were paid for the interviews, not told of its purpose and had their words taken terribly out of context.
KB TOYS: "Romney and Bain bought the 80-year-old company in 2000, loaded KB Toys with millions in debt, then used the money to repurchase Bain stock. The debt was too staggering. ... Romney and Bain's profits at the expense of 15,000 jobs was described by the Boston Herald as 'disgusting.'"
THE FACTS: Romney was in no position to plunder the toy company because he left Bain before it bought KB Toys in 2000. The retailer was finally liquidated in 2009, a decade after he moved on. Fierce competition from superstore chains was a factor in KB's collapse, not just debt.
The Boston Herald did not brand Bain's profits "disgusting," as the film claims. Instead, a story in the newspaper quoted a former worker as saying so. He was criticizing another Bain executive-turned-politician, Stephen Pagliuca, who ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic nomination to replace the late Sen. Edward Kennedy in 2009.
DDi CORP.: Romney and Bain wrung "enormous financial gain" out of the California tech manufacturing and engineering company by firing employees and dumping stock before it went into bankruptcy.
THE FACTS: The transactions charted in the film come after Romney's tenure at Bain, though he is believed to have profited from DDi stock sales after his departure. Viewers aren't told the Anaheim company blamed the bursting of the dot-com bubble for its fall, that it emerged from bankruptcy and is in business today.
AMPAD: "That hurt so bad, to leave my home, because of one man that's got 15 homes."
THE FACTS: That comment was from an interview in the film with a Marion, Ind., woman identified as a former American Pad & Paper worker, and it captures authentic grievances against Romney and Bain over the closure of the plant there in 1995. But Romney doesn't have anywhere near 15 homes, a fact the filmmakers did not feel obliged to explain.
"It was hyperbole," Tyler said Sunday. "Are we going to fact-check hyperbole?"
Romney says he owns three homes. He also has a Lake Huron cottage in Canada that has long been in the family.
Ampad is the only example in "King of Bain" that substantially overlaps Romney's tenure, and it is one he has needed to deal with before.
After Bain acquired the company in 1992, it cut 385 jobs and closed two U.S. plants, moves that became the subject of Democratic campaign ads against him when he ran unsuccessfully against Kennedy for the Senate in 1994. The episode also was in an issue in his successful 2002 race for Massachusetts governor.
Associated Press writer Jim Drinkard contributed to this report.
"Romney Parks Millions in Cayman Islands"
By MATTHEW MOSK, BRIAN ROSS and MEGAN CHUCHMACH | ABC News – January 19, 2012
Although it is not apparent on his financial disclosure form, Mitt Romney has millions of dollars of his personal wealth in investment funds set up in the Cayman Islands, a notorious Caribbean tax haven.
A spokesperson for the Romney campaign says Romney follows all tax laws and he would pay the same in taxes regardless of where the funds are based.
As the race for the Republican nomination heats up, Mitt Romney is finding it increasingly difficult to maintain a shroud of secrecy around the details about his vast personal wealth, including, as ABC News has discovered, his investment in funds located offshore and his ability to pay a lower tax rate.
"His personal finances are a poster child of what's wrong with the American tax system," said Jack Blum, a Washington lawyer who is an authority on tax enforcement and offshore banking.
On Tuesday, Romney disclosed that he has been paying a far lower percentage in taxes than most Americans, around 15 percent of his annual earnings. It has been Romney's Republican rivals who have driven the tax issue onto center stage. For weeks, Romney has cited a desire for privacy as his reason for not sharing his tax returns -- a gesture of transparency that is now expected from presidential contenders.
"I can tell you we follow the tax laws," he said recently while on the campaign trail in New Hampshire. "And if there's an opportunity to save taxes, we like anybody else in this country will follow that opportunity."
But tax experts tell ABC News there are other reasons Romney may not want the public viewing his returns. As one of the wealthiest candidates to run for president in recent times, Romney has used a variety of techniques to help minimize the taxes on his estimated $250 million fortune. In addition to paying the lower tax rate on his investment income, Romney has as much as $8 million invested in at least 12 funds listed on a Cayman Islands registry. Another investment, which Romney reports as being worth between $5 million and $25 million, shows up on securities records as having been domiciled in the Caymans.
Official documents reviewed by ABC News show that Bain Capital, the private equity partnership Romney once ran, has set up some 138 secretive offshore funds in the Caymans.
Romney campaign officials and those at Bain Capital tell ABC News that the purpose of setting up those accounts in the Cayman Islands is to help attract money from foreign investors, and that the accounts provide no tax advantage to American investors like Romney. Romney, the campaign said, has paid all U.S. taxes on income derived from those investments.
"The tax consequences to the Romneys are the very same whether the fund is domiciled here or another country," a campaign official said in response to questions. "Gov. and Mrs. Romney have money invested in funds that the trustee has determined to be attractive investment opportunities, and those funds are domiciled wherever the fund sponsors happen to organize the funds."
Bain officials called the decision to locate some funds offshore routine, and a benefit only to foreign investors who do not want to be subjected to U.S. taxes.
Tax experts agree that Romney remains subject to American taxes. But they say the offshore accounts have provided him -- and Bain -- with other potential financial benefits, such as higher management fees and greater foreign interest, all at the expense of the U.S. Treasury. Rebecca J. Wilkins, a tax policy expert with Citizens for Tax Justice, said the federal government loses an estimated $100 billion a year because of tax havens.
Blum, the D.C. tax lawyer, said working through an offshore investment vehicle allows the investor to "avoid a whole series of small traps in the tax code that ordinary people would face if they paid tax on an onshore basis."
Wilkins agreed, saying the "primary advantage to setting those funds up in an offshore jurisdiction like the Cayman Islands or Bermuda is it helps the investors avoid tax."
"It helps U.S. investors avoid U.S. tax," said Wilkins, "it helps foreign investors avoid taxes in their home country, so it's not illegal or improper to set those funds up in a foreign jurisdiction, but it makes it more attractive to investors because it helps them avoid paying taxes on that income."
Bain Accounts in the Cayman Islands
Bain's presence in the Cayman Islands is not something the firm advertises. The Los Angeles Times first disclosed Romney's offshore accounts in 2007, during his initial run for the presidency. ABC News found references to the firm's accounts in the Caymans in the footnotes of securities filings. When ABC News went to the office address listed for Romney's Bain funds, lawyers in the Caymans were not eager to answer questions.
Asked if he could confirm the existence of the Bain accounts, David Byrne, the chief marketing officer for the law firm Walkers, listed on documents as Bain's Caymans' representative, said he could not. "No, I can't at all," said Byrne. "Unfortunately, I can't comment at all on that."
There is now less secrecy than there was even two weeks ago surrounding Romney's tax rate. The money he made through Bain investments was taxed as capital gains at a 15 percent rate, instead of the higher tax rates borne by most Americans. Newt Gingrich told reporters Wednesday that his income was taxed at 31 percent.
The so-called "carried interest" rule has been the source of extensive debate in Washington, with opponents criticizing the allowance to tax those earnings at 15 percent a glaring loophole that benefits only the wealthiest Americans. Under the carried interest rule, income that is determined to be capital gains – like the profit reaped by hedge fund managers -- is subject to the lower 15 percent rate.
Wilkins said Romney's arrangements reminded her of the now famous remarks by billionaire financier Warren Buffet, who revealed in 2007 that he was paying taxes at a lower rate than his receptionist.
"Well, I think it's the issue that is sort of on the front page every day, when we look at the Occupy Wall Street movement and that people are really losing patience with the idea that a lot of multinational corporations have and a lot of wealthy people have that while they benefit from everything this country has to offer … they don't seem to be willing to pay their fair share," she said.
Romney, who left Bain in 1999, has confirmed that his earnings largely come from investments, and the tax rate he pays is consistent with that "because my last 10 years, my income comes overwhelmingly from some investments made in the past, whether ordinary income or earned annually. I got a little bit of income from my book, but I gave that all away. And then I get speaker's fees from time to time, but not very much."
"Romney paid $3M in federal income tax in 2010"
By JACK GILLUM and STEPHEN BRAUN | Associated Press – January 24, 2012
WASHINGTON (AP) — Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney paid about $3 million in federal income taxes in 2010, having earned more than seven times that — $21.7 million — from his investments and making him among the wealthiest of American taxpayers.
At the same time, Romney gave nearly $3 million to charity — about half of that amount to the Mormon Church — which helped lower his effective tax rate to a modest 14 percent, according to records his campaign released early Tuesday.
For 2011, he'll pay about $3.2 million with an effective tax rate of about 15.4 percent, the campaign said. Those returns haven't yet been filed yet with the Internal Revenue Service.
The former Massachusetts governor had been under pressure in recent weeks to release his tax returns, his GOP opponents casting him as a wealthy businessman who slashed jobs in the private sector. Rival Newt Gingrich made public his returns on Saturday, showing he paid almost $1 million in income taxes — a tax rate of about 31 percent.
Romney's campaign confirmed the details of his tax information after several news organizations saw a preview of the documents. He had said planned to release his returns in full Tuesday morning, and campaign officials would be prepared to discuss them in detail with reporters.
"You'll see my income, how much taxes I've paid, how much I've paid to charity," Romney said during Monday night's debate in Tampa. "I pay all the taxes that are legally required and not a dollar more. I don't think you want someone as the candidate for president who pays more taxes than he owes."
Romney's 2010 returns show the candidate is among the top 1 percent of taxpayers. The returns showed about $4.5 million in itemized deductions, including $1.5 million to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
Before the tax records were released, Romney's old investments in two controversial government-backed housing lenders stirred up new questions at the same time his campaign targeted Gingrich for his work for Freddie Mac.
Gingrich earned $1.6 million in consulting fees from Freddie Mac even though Romney has as much as $500,000 invested in the U.S.-backed lender and its sister entity, Fannie Mae.
The dimensions and the sources of Romney's wealth, which he has estimated to be as much as $250 million, have become pivotal issues in the roiling GOP primary campaign. For months, Romney dismissed calls to release his personal income tax records. But after mounting criticism from his rivals and others, coupled with his stinging weekend loss to Gingrich in the South Carolina primary, Romney agreed to release his 2010 return and 2011 estimate.
Romney already has acknowledged that his current tax rate is about 15 percent, a level far lower than standard rates for high-income earners and similar to the capital gains rate. "I'm proud of the fact that I pay a lot of taxes," Romney said.
The current lowest rate for long-term capital gains is 15 percent, but a higher rate of 20 percent had been in effect since 1981 until President George W. Bush signed into law a massive tax cut program in 2001.
Romney's vast investments contain other funds than the ones he profited from as a Bain Capital executive. But it was unclear whether he had any direct role in handling the investments in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that appear on his 2012 presidential disclosure.
One investment, listed as a "Federated Government Obligation Fund" and worth between $250,000 and $500,000, was a mutual fund that included both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac assets among a larger pool that included other government securities.
The holding was not listed in Romney's blind trust, which led some Democratic Party activists to suggest that the investment was under his direct control.
"He is relentlessly attacking Newt Gingrich over his ties to Freddie Mac despite the fact that he personally invested up to a half a million dollars in both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac," said Ty Matsdorf, a senior adviser with American Bridge 21st Century, a PAC associated with Democratic Party and liberal causes.
Former GOP Rep. J.C. Watts, a Gingrich supporter, said Monday that Romney was on a slippery slope calling his opponent a lobbyist and raising doubts about Gingrich's work for Freddie Mac. But he did not directly address Romney's investments with the lender or with Fannie Mae.
"Some might see it as splitting hairs. But Newt Gingrich was not walking the halls of House and Senate," Watts said on a conference call arranged by the campaign. "He was never doing the hand-to-hand combat doing the lobbying, consulting, whatever you want to call it."
A Romney campaign official who insisted on anonymity to discuss that investment in greater detail said that Romney's trustee had bought the government investment fund in 2007, before the housing crisis broke.
The Romney official said that the government fund was purchased through a charity trust that does not appear in Romney's presidential disclosure but will show up on his income tax return for 2010. That trust, called a Charitable Remainder Unitrust, is a standard tax strategy among the wealthy that provides investors with a fixed payout each year. What remains in the account at a later date, or when the investor dies, is turned over to charity, the official said.
Romney does not directly control the investment account, Romney campaign senior adviser Eric Fehrnstrom said earlier on Monday. "His investments are controlled by a trustee," Fehrnstrom said.
Separately, Romney's IRA retirement account lists both a Fannie Mae and a Freddie Mac security, each worth between $100,000 and $250,000. But because those are in Romney's IRA, they also appear to be under control of the trustee.
Tax experts said Romney's income tax returns may contain other charity structures and tax strategies designed to both boost his income and charity donations, while minimizing his involvement because of his presidential ambitions.
Associated Press writers Kasie Hunt and Brian Bakst in Tampa contributed to this report.
"Mitt Romney trashes the 47 percent"
By Jonathan Capehart, The Washington Post, September 17, 2012
Back in February, Mitt Romney stuck his ample silver foot in his mouth when he told CNN’s Soledad O’Brien, “I’m not concerned about the very poor.” He went on to say, “We have a safety net there. If it needs repair, I’ll fix it. I’m not concerned about the very rich, they’re doing just fine. I’m concerned about the very heart of the America, the 90, 95 percent of Americans who right now are struggling, and I’ll continue to take that message across the nation.”
Late Monday, Mother Jones released several video clips of a fundraiser where Romney (R-1 percent) tells weatlhy donors exactly what he thinks of those supporting President Obama. In one clip, he contradicts that botched expression of concern for the middle class. In fact, what the Republican presidential nominee said is reprehensible and unbecoming a man who claims to want to be president of all Americans.
"There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that's an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what. And, I mean, the president starts off with 48, 49 [percent], he starts with a huge number. These are people who pay no income tax. Forty-seven percent of Americans pay no income tax. So our message of low taxes doesn’t connect. So he’ll be out there talking about tax cuts for the rich. I mean, that’s what they sell every four years. And so my job is is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives. What I have to do is convince the five to 10 percent in the center that are independents, that are thoughtful, that look at voting one way or the other depending upon, in some cases, emotion, whether they like the guy or not . . ."
Mother Jones said it did not reveal the date of the fundraiser or its location in order to protect its source. But nothing should protect Romney from the avalanche of criticism already coming his way.
As Greg Sargent notes, “[T]he ranks of the oft-discussed 47 percent, many of whom pay no federal income taxes but do pay state and local taxes, are swelled with working class voters and seniors, and many of them are obviously Romney supporters — and hardly think of themselves as Big Government freeloaders.”
That one-minute-seven-second clip lays waste to Romney’s concern “about the very heart of America, the 90, 95 percent of Americans who right now are struggling.” Worse, it reveals it to be a lie. He couldn’t care less about them, it seems. That condescending clip shows a contempt for half the country that demands an explanation from Romney.
March 20, 2015
Re: Howie Carr of Boston Herald omits Romney's flaws
Howie Carr of the Boston Herald omits Willard Mitt Romney's flaws. Romney ran for U.S. President twice, while he held part of his savings in offshore accounts in the Cayman Islands. If Deval Patrick hid his savings offshore, Howie Carr would be the first to point his hypocritical finger at him.
Mitt Romney's tenure in private business was exploiting workers to turn a profit for his venture capital firm. He exemplified class warfare! The rich got richer, while the working poor got screwed.
When Mitt Romney was Governor of Massachusetts, he made drastic cuts to public education and local aid. His signature accomplishment, Romneycare, was a give away to the state's insurance companies in the name of the the uninsured working poor. Romneycare has no funding mechanism and served as the template for Obamacare, which also has no funding mechanism.
If I was a trust fund baby worth hundreds of millions of dollars, I would pay all of my taxes without offshore accounts in the Cayman Islands, I would pay the working poor a living wage, I would fully fund public education and local aid, and I would propose and implement healthcare reform that had a sustainable funding mechanism and did not give away the bank to the insurance companies.
- Jonathan Melle
Letter: “Romney-Patrick, the dream Bain ticket”
The Berkshire Eagle, March 12, 2018
To the editor:
With the news that former Governor Deval Patrick is considering a presidential race, and that another former governor, Mitt Romney, is running for a Senate seat in Utah, I wonder if the two might combine and offer the country a Patrick-Romney ticket in 2020. They wouldn't run as Democrats or Republicans but under the Bain banner.
Romney made millions when he worked for Bain Capital, which he helped start in 1984. Bain soon became notorious for destroying companies and communities. When Romney ran for president in 2012, the chair of the Democratic National Committee referred to him as "more of a job cremator than a job creator." At the same time, then-Democratic Gov. Patrick described Bain as "a perfectly fine company."
So we shouldn't have been surprised that Patrick joined Bain as managing director in 2015 when he left the governor's office. Patrick calls himself "pro-growth," but the only thing that Bain grows is unemployment. In 2000, Bain purchased Pittsfield-based KB Toys and forced KB to borrow huge amounts of capital, leading to its 2004 bankruptcy. Pittsfield lost a corporate headquarters and 90 local residents lost their jobs.
I don't know if Patrick and Romney will form a joint presidential ticket, but of one thing we can be sure: If they campaign in the Berkshires, they won't mention KB Toys.
Maynard Seider, Philadelphia, Penn.
The author is emeritus professor of Sociology at MCLA.
- Jonathan Melle
- Amherst, NH, United States
- I am a citizen defending the people against corrupt Pols who only serve their Corporate Elite masters, not the people! / My 2 political enemies are Andrea F. Nuciforo, Jr., nicknamed "Luciforo" and former Berkshire County Sheriff Carmen C. Massimiano, Jr. / I have also pasted many of my political essays on "The Berkshire Blog": berkshireeagle.blogspot.com / I AM THE ANTI-FRANK GUINTA! / Please contact me at email@example.com
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