|Candidates||Barack Obama||Mitt Romney|
|Bio||Barack H. Obama is the 44th President of the United States. His story is the American story — values from the heartland, a middle-class upbringing in a strong family, hard work and education as the means of getting ahead, and the conviction that a life so blessed should be lived in service to others.||Mitt was born in Detroit on March 12, 1947. His mother, Lenore, gave up an acting career when she met and married his father, George. Mitt’s father came from humble origins and never graduated from college. He apprenticed as a lath and plaster carpenter and sold aluminum paint before beginning a career that brought him to the head of American Motors and then the governorship of Michigan.|
|Occupation||Community organizer, Lawyer, Constitutional law professor, Author||Businessman, politician, author|
|Healthcare||Signed the 2010 healthcare overhaul bill. Calls for patient protections like allowing coverage for pre-existing conditions, not letting insurers cancel policies when patients get sick and requiring individuals to buy health insurance or pay a fine.||Though he created similar legislation in Massachusetts, promises to repeal Barack Obama’s 2010 healthcare overhaul. Would encourage individuals to purchase their own health insurance rather than rely on their employers.|
|Immigration||Supports a path to legalization for illegal immigrants that includes learning English and paying fines; toughen penalties for hiring illegal immigrants; voted for fence along Mexican border.||Would make English the official language of the US and “turn off the magnets like tuition breaks or other breaks that draw people into this country illegally”|
|Energy||Wants to create a 5-year, $50 billion project for energy and climate change to finance research into discovering alternative energy sources and developing technologies. Opposes domestic drilling offshore and in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
Supports a mandatory cap-and-trade system to reduce carbon emissions. Opposes Keystone XL pipeline.
|Opposes cap and trade legislation. Supports Keystone XL pipeline. Exporting carbon emissions to China hurts US and planet. (Aug 2007), Humans contribute to world getting warmer. (Nov 2011), $20 billion package for energy research & new car technology|
|Foreign Policy||Refocusing on the Threat from al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Taken the fight to al Qaeda and eliminated Osama bin Laden. Ending the War in Iraq, bring troops home by end of 2011. Built an international coalition to stop a massacre in Libya, and to support the Libyan people as they overthrew the regime of Moammar Qadhafi.||China: Romney has accused China of “cheating” and “stealing American jobs”. Romney favors keeping the United States embargo against Cuba in place. Opposes U.S. aid to European debt crisis. Romney supported the invasion of Iraq and the “troop surge”. Believes and supports a strong relationship with Israel. Supported U.S. military action in Libya|
|National Security & Military||Opposed invasion of Iraq from the beginning; opposed troop increase; ended military operations in Iraq(on previously negotiated Bush timeline). Made no effort to keep promise to exit in 2009. Troops moved to Afghanistan and Iranian border.
Iran: Engage in direct diplomacy; tighten economic sanctions with international cooperation; military option not off the table. Failed to deliver on 2008 campaign promise to meet with the Iranian president without preconditions.
Publicly opposed wars and intervention but has recently admitted to expanding Afghan conflict into Pakistan. Says Congressional approval not required if UN gives approval.
Allowed Patriot Act to be extended. Signed National Defense Authorization Act of 2012, which permits the indefinite detention of U.S. Citizens
While purporting to reduce military spending, proposed a defense budget in January, 2012, that would INCREASE military spending by $36 billion over the next five years, even after assumed reductions in expenditures for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
|Romney says that keeping the U.S. in Iraq is the best option for minimizing casualties and maintaining a democratic government in Iraq. Military option not off the table for Iran. Would have signed NDAA as is. Military intervention: Consult with lawyers on legality but believes President has the right to do what he believes makes the country safer.
Has pledged to commit at least 4% of U.S. GDP to core defense spending, not including “war costs”, compared to a projected level for 2013 if 3.2%. About Romney’s proposal, one expert observed that it would be almost impossible to “spend 4% (next year) if you wanted to.” Proposes to “increase the (Navy’s) shipbuilding rate from 9 per year to 15”, at a five-year cost of an additional $35-$40 billion.
Supports the Patriot Act. Does not consider water boarding to be torture. Proposed wiretapping mosques.
|Education||Voted in favor on shifting $11B from corporate tax loopholes to education. Signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 which included a $4.35 billion education reform program financed by the Department of Education.||Supported No Child Left Behind Act of 2001.|
|Taxes, Budget & Economy||Repeal Bush tax cuts for households earning more than $250,000. Lower taxes on manufacturing industry. Stimulus spending and tax cuts to grow the economy (short term). Cut spending and raise taxes on wealthy to reduce deficit (long term).
The national debt has increased more – almost $5 trillion – during 3 ½ years under President Obama than it did during the entire 8 years of the Bush Administration.
|Make Bush tax cuts permanent. Lower corporate tax rate across the board to 25%. Cut taxes and regulations to encourage business. Cut “non-security discretionary [government] spending” by 5% to reduce deficit.
In March, 2009, said the TARP bailouts were necessary. In Sept., 2009, said he is opposed to bailouts.
|Jobs & Corporations||Proposed the American Jobs Act of 2011. Cutting and suspending $245 billion worth of payroll taxes for qualifying employers and 160 million medium to low income employees. Spending $62 billion for a Pathways Back to Work Program for expanding opportunities for low-income youth and adults. Spending $50 billion on both new & pre-existing infrastructure projects. Spending $35 billion in additional funding to protect the jobs of teachers, police officers, and firefighters. Spending $30 billion to modernize at least 35,000 public schools and community colleges. Spending $15 billion on a program that would hire construction workers to help rehabilitate and refurbishing hundreds of thousands of foreclosed homes and businesses. Creating the National Infrastructure Bank (capitalized with $10 billion), originally proposed in 2007, to help fund infrastructure via private and public capital. Creating a nationwide, interoperable wireless network for public safety, while expanding accessibility to high-speed wireless services. Creating additional regulations on businesses that discriminate against hiring those who are long-term unemployed. Loosening regulations on small businesses that wish to raise capital, including through crowd funding, while retaining investor protections.||Romney’s plan includes overhauling federal tax, regulatory, trade and energy policies. The intent is “to create the conditions that allow the private sector and entrepreneurs to create jobs and to grow our economy,” according to Romney. He has vowed to create some 12,000,000 jobs within his first four years in office if elected.|
|Abortion||Supports Roe v. Wade; criticized Supreme Court decision that upheld ban on partial-birth abortions.||Opposes Roe v. Wade; believes states should be allowed to ban abortions. 1994: Supported abortion rights but personally opposed No punishment for women who have partial birth abortions, change of heart in 2005 when preparing to run for President.|
|Gun Control||Respect 2nd Amendment, but local gun bans ok (Source: 2008 Politico pre-Potomac Primary interview , Feb 11, 2008)
On individual gun rights & the DC gun ban: “Just because you have an individual right does not mean that the state or local government can’t constrain the exercise of that right.”
|Gun Owners of America Rating: D-. 1994: “I don’t line up with the NRA”. 2007 “I am now a proud member” (of the NRA).|