Willard Mitt Romney (born March 12, 1947) is an American businessman and former Governor of Massachusetts. Romney is also a former candidate for the Republican nomination in the 2008 United States presidential election.
Romney was CEO of Bain & Company, a management consulting firm, and co-founder of Bain Capital, a private equity investment firm. After his business career and serving as CEO of the 2002 Winter Olympics, Romney was elected as the 70th Governor of Massachusetts in 2002. Romney served one term and did not seek re-election in 2006; his term expired January 4, 2007.
Romney graduated from the Cranbrook School in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan in 1965. After attending Stanford University for two quarters, Romney served in France for 30 months as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Subsequently, Romney attended Brigham Young University, where he graduated as valedictorian, earning his Bachelor of Arts degree summa cum laude in English in 1971. Romney received a ministerial deferment from the military draft while in France, and three years of deferments while a student. When he became eligible for military service in 1970, his high number in the annual draft lottery meant he would not be drafted.
In 1975, Romney graduated from a joint Juris Doctor/Master of Business Administration program coordinated between Harvard Law School and Harvard Business School. He graduated cum laude from the law school and was named a Baker Scholar for graduating in the top five percent of his business school class.
In 1990, Romney was asked to return to Bain & Company, which was facing financial collapse. As CEO, Romney managed an effort to restructure the firm's employee stock-ownership plan, real-estate deals and bank loans, while increasing fiscal transparency. Within a year, he had led Bain & Company through a highly successful turnaround and returned the firm to profitability without layoffs or partner defections.
Romney left Bain Capital in 1998 to head the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympic Games Organizing Committee. He and his wife have a net worth of between 250 and 500 million USD. , not including Romney's blind trust in the name of their children, which is valued at about $100 million.
On February 11, 1999, Romney was hired as the new president and CEO of the Salt Lake Organizing Committee. Romney revamped the organization's leadership and policies, reduced budgets and boosted fund raising. He also worked to ensure the safety of the Games following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 by coordinating a $300 million security budget. Despite the initial fiscal shortfall, the Games ended up clearing a profit of $100 million, not counting the $224.5 million in security costs contributed by outside sources.
Romney contributed $1 million to the Olympics, and donated the $825,000 salary he earned as President and CEO to charity. He wrote a book about his experience titled Turnaround: Crisis, Leadership, and the Olympic Games.
After Romney touted his business credentials and his record at creating jobs within his company, Kennedy ran campaign ads showing an Indiana company bought out by Romney's firm, Bain Capital, and interviews with its union workers who had been fired and criticized Romney for the loss of their jobs, one saying, "I don’t think Romney is creating jobs because he took every one of them away. Romney claimed that 10,000 jobs were created because of his work at Bain, but private detectives hired by Kennedy found a factory bought by Bain Capital that had suffered a 350-worker strike after Bain had cut worker pay and benefits. Although both Kennedy and Romney supported the abortion rights established under Roe v. Wade, Kennedy accused Romney of being "multiple choice" on the issue, rather than "pro choice. Romney is now pro-life and opposes Roe. According to figures in The Almanac of American Politics 1996, which relies on official campaign finance reports, Romney spent over $7 million of his own money, with Kennedy spending more than $10 million from his campaign fund, mostly in the last weeks of the campaign (this was the second-most expensive race of the 1994 election cycle, after the Dianne Feinstein vs. Michael Huffington Senate race in California). In a September poll, Romney had a 43% to 42% lead. A month later, however, Kennedy led in the polls 50% to 32. Kennedy won the election with 58 percent of the vote to Romney's 41 percent, the second smallest margin in Kennedy's nine elections to the Senate through 2006.
Massachusetts Democratic Party officials claimed that Romney was ineligible to run for governor, citing residency issues. The Massachusetts Constitution requires seven consecutive years of residency prior to a run for office. Romney claimed residency in Utah from 1999 to 2002, during his time as president of the Salt Lake City Olympic Committee. In 1999 he listed himself as a part-time Massachusetts resident. The Massachusetts Democratic Party filed a complaint with the Massachusetts State Ballot Law Commission, which eventually ruled that Romney was eligible to run for office. The ruling was not challenged in court.
Supporters of Romney hailed his business record, especially his success with the 2002 Olympics, as that of one who would be able to bring a new era of efficiency into Massachusetts politics. Romney contributed $6.3 million to his own campaign during the election, a state record at the time. Romney was elected Governor in November 2002 with 50 percent of the vote over Democratic candidate Shannon O'Brien, who received 45 percent of the vote.
Romney was sworn in as the 70th governor of Massachusetts on January 2, 2003. Upon entering office, Romney faced a projected $3 billion deficit, but a previously enacted $1.3 billion capital gains tax increase and $500 million in unanticipated federal grants decreased the deficit to $1.2 billion. Through a combination of spending cuts, increased fees, and removal of corporate tax loopholes, by 2006 the state had a $700 million surplus and was able to cut taxes.
Romney supported raising various fees by more than $300 million, including raising fees for driver's licenses, marriage licenses, and gun licenses. Romney increased the state gasoline tax by 2 cents per gallon, generating about $60 million per year in additional tax revenue. Romney also closed tax loopholes that brought in another $181 million from businesses over the next two years. The state legislature, with Romney's support, also cut spending by $1.6 billion, including $700 million in reductions in state aid to cities and towns. The cuts also included a $140 million reduction in state funding for higher education, which led state-run colleges and universities to increase tuition by 63%. Romney sought additional cuts in his last year as Massachusetts governor by vetoing nearly 250 items in the state budget. All of those vetoes were overturned by the legislature.
The combined state and local tax burden in Massachusetts increased during Romney's governorship. According to the Tax Foundation, that per capita burden was 9.8% in 2002 (below the national average of 10.3%), and 10.5% in 2006 (below the national average of 10.8%).
On April 12, 2006, Romney signed the Massachusetts health reform law which requires nearly all Massachusetts residents to buy health insurance coverage or face the loss of their personal income tax exemption. The bill also establishes means-tested state subsidies for people who do not have adequate employer insurance and who make below an income threshold, by using funds previously designated to compensate for the health costs of the uninsured. He vetoed eight sections of the health care legislation, including an employer assessment and provisions providing health coverage to senior and disabled legal immigrants not eligible for federal Medicaid. The legislature overrode all eight vetoes. Romney's communications director Eric Fehrnstrom responded saying "These differences with the Legislature are not essential to the goal of getting everyone covered with insurance."
At the beginning of his governorship, Romney opposed same-sex marriage and civil unions. Faced with the dilemma of choosing between same-sex marriage or civil unions after the November 2003 Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court decision legalizing same-sex marriages (Goodridge v. Department of Public Health), Romney reluctantly backed a state constitutional amendment in February 2004 that would have banned same-sex marriage but still allow civil unions, viewing it as the only feasible way to ban same-sex marriage in Massachusetts. In May 2004 Romney instructed town clerks to begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, but citing a 1913 law that barred out-of-state residents from getting married in Massachusetts if their union would be illegal in their home state, no marriage licenses were to be issued to out-of-state same-sex couples not planning to move to Massachusetts. In June 2005, Romney abandoned his support for the compromise amendment, stating that the amendment confused voters who oppose both same-sex marriage and civil unions. Instead, Romney endorsed a petition effort led by the Coalition for Marriage & Family that would have banned same-sex marriage and made no provisions for civil unions. In 2006 he urged the U.S. Senate to vote in favor of the Marriage Protection Amendment.
On December 14, 2005, Romney announced that he would not seek re-election for a second term as governor. Romney left office with a favorability rating of 43%. Romney filed papers to establish a formal exploratory presidential campaign committee the next to last day in office as governor. This solidified suspicions that had been circulating as early as 2005 that Romney would attempt to run for President. This also intensified criticism that Romney was not taking his governorship seriously (spending 219 days out of state in 2006), and using his office as a springboard to greater political ambitions. Romney's term ended January 4, 2007.
Since the 2004 Republican National Convention, Romney had been discussed as a potential 2008 presidential candidate. On January 3, 2007, two days before he stepped down as governor of Massachusetts, Romney filed to form a presidential exploratory committee with the Federal Election Commission. Romney formally announced his candidacy for the 2008 Republican nomination for president on February 13, 2007.
In the January 2008 Iowa Caucus, the first contest of the primary elections, Romney received 25% of the vote and placed second to Mike Huckabee, who received 34%. A few days later, Romney won the Wyoming Republican Caucuses. Romney finished in second place behind John McCain in the New Hampshire primary on January 8, 2008. In the January 15 Michigan primary, Romney won with 39% of the vote, followed by McCain (30%), Huckabee (16%), and others. On January 19, Romney won the Nevada caucuses, but placed fourth in the South Carolina primary. Romney then came in second behind John McCain in the Florida primary on January 29, and came in first ahead of John McCain in the Maine caucuses on February 2, giving McCain an overall 97-92 lead over Romney in delegates to the 2008 Republican National Convention. According to US election polls, going into Super Tuesday, Mitt Romney led in California (40% - 32% John McCain), Massachusetts (55% - 23%), Colorado (43% - 24%), and Utah (65% - 6%). McCain led in 12 states and was 21 points ahead of Romney in national polls.
Romney partly financed his campaign with his own personal fortune, contributing over $35 million of the $90 million raised by his campaign, as of December 31, 2007.
Following the results of the 2008 Super Tuesday primaries, Romney suspended his campaign for the presidential nomination on February 7, 2008. He stated that by staying in the race he would only "forestall the launch of a national campaign and frankly I'd be making it easier for Senator Clinton or Senator Barack Obama to win. And in this time of war, I simply cannot let my campaign be a part of aiding surrender to terror." He went on to say "I am convinced that unless America changes course, we will become the France of the 21st century - still a great nation, but no longer the leader of the world, no longer the superpower.
Romney won 11 states primaries and caucuses, 4.2 million votes and 291 delegates.
In July 2008, Romney decided not to seek donations to recover the $45 million in personal loans he made to his campaign. Instead, the loans are to be reclassified as contributions by Romney. The Romney committee raised approximately $65 million from individual donors during the primary campaign.
Romney was reported to be under consideration on the McCain ticket as a vice-presidential nominee. Shortly after McCain opted for Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate, Romney told reporters he had no interest in serving on a McCain Cabinet because he would not relish being "soldiered by 27-year-olds in the White House.... That is not an attractive position, in my view. Romney said his disinterest in a Cabinet position stemmed from his father's past experience as U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development for President Richard Nixon. Romney said he was not disappointed at being passed over for the vice presidential spot, and felt Palin would connect well with voters and strengthen the Republican ticket. He added, "I want to work from the outside of the administration, fighting for the values and the views that I think are essential to keep our country strong right now.
Mitt Romney is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, colloquially known as the Mormon church. His great-great-grandfather, Parley P. Pratt, was among the first leaders in the Latter Day Saint movement in the early 19th century. Mitt’s wife Ann converted to the Church of Jesus Christ before they were married in 1969. In addition to his missionary work in France, Romney has served as a part-time lay minister, called a bishop, and has also been a stake president in his church (stake presidents preside over several congregations). As part of his religious practice, Romney abstains from alcohol and smoking.
Religion played a major role in the 2008 presidential campaign, with polls indicating that a quarter of Republican voters were “less likely” to vote for a presidential candidate who was a Latter-day Saint. However, some social conservatives and evangelicals criticized Romney for not being enough of a Latter-day Saint regarding social policy. He avoided speaking publicly about specific church doctrines, and pointed out that the U.S. Constitution prohibits religious tests for public office. Declining to discuss details about his religion also reduced the risk that doctrinal differences would alienate evangelical Christian voters. Romney instead addressed religion in general, saying that as president he would have needed “the prayers of the people of all faiths” and that he would have served “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.”
Some of Mitt Romney's political positions have changed over the course of his political career. He says that he has learned from experience, and that people can rely on him to keep his campaign promises. As a candidate for the Republican nomination for President, Romney has increasingly expressed views in line with traditional conservatives on social issues.
Romney was filmed participating in a Pro-Choice Planned Parenthood fundraiser in 1994 in conjunction with a $150 family contribution, and has made many pro-choice comments in the past. Romney says he has changed positions, "acknowledged my error" and is therefore pro-life. Romney says that he believes that Roe v. Wade should be overturned, that "abortion is the wrong choice except in cases of incest, rape, and to save the life of the mother," and that "states, through the democratic process, should determine their own abortion laws and not have them dictated by judicial mandate." As a candidate for office in Massachusetts, Romney claimed to hold liberal or moderate views on abortion; he explains his changing views as a process of evolution, contending that he has gradually come to agree with the conservative position on abortion. Critics of Romney are less flattering and portray him as an opportunist. For example, Democratic U.S. Representative Barney Frank of Massachusetts once said, "The real Romney is clearly an extraordinarily ambitious man with no perceivable political principle whatsoever. He is the most intellectually dishonest human being in the history of politics," to which a Romney spokesman replied that "We’ve never really paid much attention to what Barney Frank is saying, and we see no reason to start now.
Romney has been a strong supporter of gun control legislation and enforcement, backing the Brady Bill, a five-day waiting period on gun sales, and a ban on certain assault weapons, and he still backs the ban on assault weapons. Romney has also supported some legislation that was endorsed by the National Rifle Association and the Gun Owners' Action League. Romney also says he believes that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to keep and bear arms, rather than merely protecting a right of states.
Romney welcomes increased legal immigration and supports giving "a biometrically-enabled and tamperproof card to non-citizens and ... a national database for non-citizens" in order to reduce illegal immigration. Romney's lawn care company had illegal aliens working at his private residence for nearly a decade. Romney had them fired after the fact was revealed to him during his current campaign for President.
Romney is a proponent of monogamous, heterosexual marriage. As a candidate for governor in 2002, Romney said: "Call me old fashioned, but I don't support gay marriage nor do I support civil union." During that 2002 campaign, he also supported hate crimes legislation and opposed other discrimination against gays, while supporting some partner benefits for gays, and he also opposed amending the state constitution to codify only traditional marriage because he believed the draft amendment would have outlawed other partner benefits. When the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled in favor of legalized same-sex marriage in 2003, Romney lobbied for a state constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriage but allow civil unions. Romney explained in 2005: "From day one I've opposed the move for same-sex marriage and its equivalent, civil unions....I am only supporting civil unions if gay marriage is the alternative." Romney continues to oppose both marriage and civil unions between people of the same sex. Romney's tone on gay rights has been viewed by some as fluctuating, though he supported Bill Clinton's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell Policy" in 1994, and continued to do so in 2007.
Romney supported the invasion of Iraq, and supports the "troop surge. Upon hearing the testimony of David Petraeus, Romney reemphasized his agreement with current policy in Iraq and has called for a "Surge of Support" for the military. Romney has called for increased military spending to at least 4 percent of the United States GDP and wishes to increase the size of the military by at least 100,000 troops.
Romney has focused on tax relief for "middle income Americans," and has advocated eliminating the capital gains tax for all those who earn less than $200,000 per year. Romney has also advocated eliminating the estate tax, signed a pledge to oppose "any and all efforts" to increase income taxes, and promises to control spending by Congress.
Romney supports the death penalty, charter schools, and sentencing under the three strikes law. Romney opposes the use of "torture"; however, he supports the limited use of "enhanced interrogation techniques," which he believes are not torture.
Soon after his return from missionary work in France, Romney married high school girlfriend Ann Davies on March 21, 1969. They have five sons—Tagg, (b. 1970), Matt (b. 1971), Josh (b. 1975), Ben (b. 1978) and Craig (b. 1981)—and eleven grandchildren.
Their first son, Tagg, was born in 1970 while both were undergraduates at Brigham Young, living in a $75-a-month basement apartment. Ann Romney's work as a stay-at-home mom enabled her husband to pursue his career, first in business and then in politics.
Ann Romney was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1998. She is in remission and was active in his 2008 presidential campaign.
Reid: If Mitt Romney Won't Stand Up for Every American as President, He Doesn't Deserve to Serve Any American as President
Sep 19, 2012; WASHINGTON -- The following information was released by the office Nevada Senator Harry Reid: Nevada Senator Harry Reid spoke on...