Mitt Romney - 2008 Presidential Candidate Quick Overview Mitt Romney, Tommy Thomson, Joe Biden, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, John McCain, Presidential election, new hampshire primary, election coverage, election, vote 2008, voter information, election information Mitt Romney - 2008 Presidential Election - An overview of candidates, issues, campaigns, primaries, caucases, media coverage and everything else about the 2008 election. Mitt Romney

Election 2008

Willard Mitt Romney (born March 12, 1947) is the 70th and current Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. He did not seek re-election in 2006 and his term in office concludes January 4, 2007. Romney is frequently mentioned as a possible candidate for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008.

Romney is the former CEO of Bain & Company, a management consulting firm, and the co-founder of Bain Capital, a private equity investment firm. In 1994, Romney led an unsuccessful Senate campaign against Democratic Senator Ted Kennedy. He also served as the CEO and organizer of the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Mitt Romney was born March 12, 1947 in Detroit, Michigan. He is the son of Lenore Romney and former Michigan governor, Housing and Urban Development Secretary and presidential candidate George W. Romney. Romney has three siblings: Lynn, Jane, and G. Scott.

Romney has been married to his wife, Ann Romney, since 1969. They have five sons (Tagg, Matt, Josh, Ben and Craig) and ten grandchildren. Ann Romney was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1998.

Early life and education

Romney graduated from the Cranbrook School in Bloomfield Hills (now Cranbrook Kingswood School). He met his future wife, Ann Davies, when she was at the Kingswood School.

After attending Stanford University for two quarters, Romney served for 30 months as a Mormon missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in France. Upon returning from France he transferred to Brigham Young University, where he was valedictorian, earning his B.A. with Highest Honors in 1971. In 1975, Romney completed the degree of M.B.A., graduating in the top 5 percent of his class from Harvard Business School. He was named a Baker Scholar. In 1975 he also received his J.D. cum laude from Harvard Law School. He is also an Eagle Scout.

Business

After graduation from Harvard Business School, Romney went to work for the Boston Consulting Group, where he had been a summer intern in 1974.

From 1978 to 1984, Romney was a vice president of Bain & Company, Inc., a Boston-based management consulting firm. Later, as the company's CEO, he led it through a highly successful turnaround. In 1984, Romney co-founded Bain Capital, one of the nation's most successful private equity investment firms. Under Romney's leadership, Bain Capital founded, acquired or invested in hundreds of companies including Bright Horizons Family Solutions, Brookstone, Domino's, Sealy and The Sports Authority.

Romney first gained national attention when he served as president and CEO of the 2002 Olympic Winter Games held in Salt Lake City. In 1999 the event was running $379 million short of its revenue benchmarks. Plans were being made to scale back the games in order to compensate for the fiscal crisis. "There are contingency plans in place already in case we could not meet our revenue goals that we would scale back the budget accordingly and keep these Games on budget," said United States Olympic Committee Executive Director Dick Schultz at the time. The Games were also rocked by scandal as damaging allegations of bribery were made against top officials, including then Salt Lake Olympic Committee (SLOC) President and CEO Frank Joklik. Joklik and SLOC vice president Dave Johnson were forced to resign.

The 2002 Winter Games were on the verge of becoming a national disaster and a global embarrassment. The event needed new leadership, and the SLOC launched a search for a new Olympic chief. "The candidate I'm looking for," SLOC chairman Bob Garff said at the time, "is the white knight who is universally loved."

On February 11, 1999 the committee named Romney the new president and CEO of the Salt Lake City Games. He was charged with restoring faith in the beleaguered event, and rescuing the Olympics from failure. Romney revamped the organization's leadership and policies, reduced budgets and boosted fundraising. 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.

"Romney and his group here, the Salt Lake Organizing Committee, did one of the great organizing jobs of all time," said NBC Sports Chairman Dick Ebersol. Following the conclusion of the Games, then-US Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta congratulated the Salt Lake Organizing Committee, "who under Mitt Romney's leadership, hosted perhaps the best Winter Olympic Games ever." President George Bush also praised Romney's management of the Games. "Mitt, you did a fabulous job," said the President at a White House ceremony recognizing the Salt Lake City Olympics.

Romney contributed $1 million to the Olympics, and donated all three years of the salary he earned as President and CEO ($275,000 per year) to charity. He wrote a book about his experience called Turnaround: Crisis, Leadership and the Olympic Games.

Political campaigns

1994 campaign for United States Senate

In 1994, Romney won the Massachusetts Republican Party's nomination for U.S. Senate after defeating businessman John Lakian in the primary. Some polls showed Romney only slightly behind Senator Ted Kennedy. One Boston Herald/WCVB-TV poll taken after the September 20, 1994 primary showed Romney ahead 44 percent to 42 percent, within the poll's sampling margin of error. According to figures in the 1996 Almanac of American Politics, which relies on official campaign finance reports, Romney spent over $7 million, with Kennedy spending over $10 million, 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.) Kennedy won the election decisively with 58 percent of the vote to Romney's 41 percent. The 17-percentage point winning margin was the smallest in Kennedy's long career as Senator.

2002 campaign for Governor

In 2002, Republican Lieutenant Governor Jane Swift was expected to campaign for the governor's office. Swift had served as acting governor after Republican Governor Paul Cellucci resigned upon being appointed U.S. Ambassador to Canada. Swift was viewed as an unpopular executive, and her administration was plagued by political missteps and personal scandals. Many Republicans viewed her as a liability and considered her unable to win a general election against a Democrat. Prominent GOP activists campaigned to persuade Romney to run for governor. One poll taken at this time showed that Republicans favored Romney over Swift by more than 50 percentage points. With growing speculation that Romney would challenge Swift in a bruising primary battle, Swift decided not to seek her party's nomination.

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 Party decided not to challenge the ruling in court.

During the general election Romney ran on a reform platform; a major issue in the election was a state budget crisis. Supporters of Romney hailed his business record, especially his success with the 2002 Olympics, as that of one who would be able to bring in a new era of efficiency into Massachusetts politics. Romney contributed $6.3 million to his own campaign during the election, at the time a state record. Romney was elected Governor in November 2002 with 50 percent of the vote over Democratic candidate Shannon O'Brien, who received 45 percent.

Possible presidential run in 2008

Since 2004, Romney has been discussed as a potential 2008 presidential candidate. Romney has said that he will announce his intent to run in January 2007 after he leaves the governor's office on January 4. He has spent a considerable amount of time giving political speeches in key primary battleground states. Romney also traveled the country during the 2006 election cycle to campaign for gubernatorial candidates as chairman of the Republican Governors Association. While he did not run for reelection as governor, Romney set up a federal political action committee (PAC) called the Commonwealth PAC, which has raised over $9 million. He has also signed up well-known political operatives to lay the groundwork for a campaign and secured the endorsements of elected officlas such as Missouri Governor Matt Blunt.

Romney’s anticipated run has already interested sociologists hoping to examine if American voters shift their allegiances based on their perception of the religion of the candidate. A poll taken in 1960 found that 35% of people would not vote for a Catholic candidate, the same year that the Catholic John F. Kennedy was elected president. Recent polls have found that 37% of respondents would not consider voting for a mormon candidate.

Romney was sworn in as the 70th governor of Massachusetts on January 2, 2003, along with Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healey.

On December 14, 2005, Romney announced that he will not seek re-election for a second term as governor, fueling speculation about a run for the White House in 2008. Healey became the Republican nominee for the 2006 Massachusetts gubernatorial race and subsequently lost to Democrat Deval Patrick.

Health care

On April 12, 2006, Romney signed legislation to provide health insurance to virtually all citizens of Massachusetts without raising taxes. Working with conservative groups, such as the Heritage Foundation, as well as Democrats in the Massachusetts legislature, Romney developed a plan that stresses personal responsibility in paying for coverage and provides funding for low-income residents. Starting in July 2007, health insurance will be mandatory for all state residents, provided a plan is available to the individual that is deemed affordable according to state standards. Lower income individuals will be eligible for subsidies to purchase health insurance.

As of March 2006 there were approximately 500,000 uninsured citizens in Massachusetts. Those who are uninsured commonly use emergency rooms as a source of primary care because of their lack of health insurance coverage. Massachusetts hospitals are required to provide care even if a patient cannot pay for it. As a result, hospitals have been left with unpaid bills and mounting expenses to care for the uninsured. "People who don't have insurance nonetheless receive health care," said Romney. "And it's expensive."

In Massachusetts, a roughly $800 million fund known as the "uncompensated care pool" is used to partially reimburse hospitals for these expenses. The fund's revenue comes from an annual assessment on employers, insurance providers and hospitals, plus contributions of state and federal tax dollars. Governor Romney's plan redirects money from this fund to subsidize health care costs for low-income residents of Massachusetts. The Romney Administration consulted with MIT professor Jonathan Gruber to study the state's population and health care needs. They determined that there was enough money in the "free care pool" to implement the Governor's plans without additional funding or taxes.

The legislature amended Romney's plan, adding a Medicaid expansion for children and imposing an assessment on firms with 11 or more workers who do not offer health coverage. The assessment is intended to equalize the contributions to the free care pool from employers that offer and do not offer coverage. The General Court also rejected Romney's provision allowing high-deductible health plans.

The new Massachusetts health care legislation establishes a system to provide citizens with private, affordable, market based insurance. The state will work to enroll all residents eligible for Medicaid and subsidize private insurance policies for low income individuals. A sliding scale based on income is used to determine the amount of money a person contributes to their policy. The higher the income, the higher the premium. Individuals who can afford health coverage but chose not to purchase a policy will now be required by law to acquire insurance. Failure to purchase health insurance if an affordable policy is available would result in tax penalties.

The legislation also establishes a device developed by the Heritage Foundation known as the "Connector." The Connector allows Massachusetts citizens to "purchase health insurance with pretax dollars, even if their employer makes no contribution. The connector enables pretax payments, simplifies payroll deduction, permits prorated employer contributions for part-time employees, reduces insurer marketing costs, and makes it efficient for policies to be entirely portable. Because small businesses may use the connector, it gives them even greater bargaining power than large companies."

Romney vetoed eight sections of the health care legislation, including a $295 per person fee on businesses with 11 employees or more that do not provide health insurance. Romney also vetoed provisions providing dental and eyeglass benefits to poor residents on the Medicaid program, and providing health coverage to senior and disabled legal immigrants not eligible for federal Medicaid. However, the state legislature overrode all of the vetoes.

In an effort to duplicate a successful program in nearby Maine, in September 2005, Romney submitted a bill to the legislature to deliver $100 laptops to all children in Massachusetts. This project would cost $54 million. During his 2006 State of the Commonwealth address Romney said; "I want every middle and high school student to have a laptop computer. Our kids won’t keep pace with the world of tomorrow if they learn with the technology of yesterday."

During Romney's tenure as governor, Massachusetts per capita funding for public higher education has decreased from $158 to $137, although in national rank, per capita state expenditures changed from 48th to 47th. In July 2005, Romney proposed $200 million in funding for University of Massachusetts capital projects. The Governor's capital budget included $50 million earmarked to repair the crumbling parking garage and foundation of the UMass Boston campus. The Massachusetts legislature declined to vote on the bond bill needed to fund the projects. Governor Romney also vetoed a retroactive pay raise for unionized employees of state and community colleges. Romney has voiced his opposition to retroactive pay increases for public employees although the raises had previously been agreed to, and then vetoed by his predecessor.

In 1994 Romney, as a candidate for U.S. Senate, pledged to vote to establish a means-tested school voucher program to allow students to attend the public or private school of their choice. He also supported abolishing the federal Department of Education and favored keeping control of educational reform at the lowest level, closest to parents, teachers, and the community (Boston Globe review of 1994 campaign issues Mar 21, 2002).

Romney believes that superintendents and principals should be given the authority to hire teachers and fire underperforming educators. He believes that teacher performance and not tenure should determine job security, saying that "seniority cannot trump the needs of our children."

Romney also favors standardized testing as a high school graduation requirement and alternative education options for parents and students. He supports charter schools, school vouchers and home schooling.

As Governor, Romney has proposed mandatory parental preparation courses. He also supports English immersion classes for students that cannot speak English and opposes bilingual education.

Upon entering office, Romney faced a $3 billion deficit. Facing an immediate fiscal crisis, the Governor asked the state legislature for emergency powers to make "9C" cuts to the fiscal year 2003 budget. Refusing to raise taxes, Romney cut spending and restructured state government. An unexpected windfall in capital gains taxes reduced the deficit by $1.3 billion, and Romney raised an extra $500 million in revenue by increasing hundreds of fees (such as driver's license and marriage license fees) and by closing tax "loopholes." The state also cut spending by $1.6 billion, including $700 million in reductions in state aid to cities and towns. In response, cities and towns became more reliant on local revenue to pay for municipal services and schools.

Massachusetts finished 2004 with a $700 million surplus and 2005 with a $500 million surplus.

With the help of a reviving economy, Romney and the state legislature were able to balance the state budget and replenish the state's "rainy day fund" through government consolidation and reform. As a result of the fiscal turnaround, Romney has repeatedly pushed the state legislature to roll back the state income tax from 5.3% to 5.0% (Massachusetts has a flat income tax).

In 2006, the Massachusetts legislature approved a budget that required spending $450 million from the rainy day fund. Even though the state had collected a record-breaking amount of tax revenue in the fiscal year, the funds were needed to cover the increased spending. Romney vetoed the transfer of funds from the contingency account and used his emergency “9C” cuts to balance the state budget. "One of the primary responsibilities of government is keeping the books balanced," said Romney "The problem here is not revenues; the problem is overspending. The level of spending which we're looking at would put us on the same road to financial crisis and ruin that our commonwealth has been down before."

Romney has strongly opposed same-sex marriage and civil unions. He has continually stressed the need to protect the institution of marriage while denouncing discrimination against gays and lesbians. "Like me, the great majority of Americans wish both to preserve the traditional definition of marriage and to oppose bias and intolerance directed towards gays and lesbians," said Romney in a 2004 interview.

In 1994, Romney told a Boston-area gay newspaper in 1994 that individual states should be allowed to decide whether to legalize gay marriage. On June 2, 2006, Romney sent a letter to each member of the U.S. Senate urging them to vote in favor of the Marriage Protection Amendment. In the letter, Romney stated that the debate over same-sex unions is not a discussion about "tolerance," but rather a "debate about the purpose of the institution of marriage." Romney wrote that "Attaching the word marriage to the association of same-sex individuals mistakenly presumes that marriage is principally a matter of adult benefits and adult rights. In fact, marriage is principally about the nurturing and development of children. And the successful development of children is critical to the preservation and success of our nation."

Romney's letter was his second attempt to persuade the U.S. Senate to pass the Marriage Protection Amendment. On June 22, 2004 he testified before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, urging its members to protect the traditional definition of marriage. "Marriage is not an evolving paradigm," said Romney, "but is a fundamental and universal social institution that bears a real and substantial relation to the public health, safety, morals, and general welfare of all of the people of Massachusetts."

Romney was heavily involved in attempts to block implementation of the decision of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court that legalized same-sex marriage in 2003. Romney criticized the decision as harming the rights of children: {{cquote|They viewed marriage as an institution principally designed for adults. Adults are who they saw. Adults stood before them in the courtroom. And so they thought of adult rights, equal rights for adults…Marriage is also for children. In fact, marriage is principally for the nurturing and development of children. The children of America have the right to have a father and a mother."

In 2004, the Massachusetts General Court attempted to address the issue of gay marriage before the implementation of the Goodridge decision. During a constitutional convention, the heavily Democratic legislature approved an amendment that would have banned gay marriage, but established civil unions. An initial amendment offered by House Speaker Thomas Finnernan that would have simply banned gay marriage without a provision for civil unions was narrowly defeated.The compromise amendment needed to be approved in a second constitutional convention to be held a year later before it would have appeared on a state election ballot. The amendment was voted down in the subsequent convention and never made it before the voters of Massachusetts.

Romney reluctantly backed the compromise amendment, viewing it as the only feasible way to ban gay marriage in Massachusetts. "If the question is, 'Do you support gay marriage or civil unions?' I'd say neither," Romney said of the amendment. "If they said you have to have one or the other, that Massachusetts is going to have one or the other, then I'd rather have civil unions than gay marriage. But I'd rather have neither."

In June 2005, Romney abandoned his support for the compromise amendment, claiming that the amendment confused voters who oppose both gay marriage and civil unions. The amendment was defeated in the General Court in 2005 when both supporters of same-sex marriage and opponents of civil unions voted against it. In June 2005, Romney endorsed a petition effort led by the Coalition for Marriage & Family that would ban gay marriage and make no provisions for civil unions. Backed by the signatures of 170,000 massachusetts residents the new amendment was certified as a valid referendum on September 7, 2005 by Massachusetts Attorney General Thomas Reilly. The measure needs the approval of 50 legislators in two consecutive sessions of the Massachusetts General Court to be placed on the ballot. The Massachusetts legislature however declined to vote on the initiative in two consecutive sessions held on July 12, 2006 and November 9, 2006.

The Romney Administration resurrected the "1913 law," which prohibits non-residents from marrying in Massachusetts if the marriage would be void in their home state; the law had not been enforced for several decades. While some legal experts have argued that the original purpose of the legislation was to block interracial marriages and have noted that the law was enacted at the height of public scandal over black heavyweight boxer Jack Johnson's interracial marriages, Massachusetts Attorney General Thomas Reilly has stated that the law had nothing to do with race. In March of 2006 the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court declared the statute legal under the state's constitution. Romney applauded the decision, saying that the "ruling is an important victory for traditional marriage." He also stated that "It would have been wrong for the Supreme Judicial Court to impose its mistaken view of marriage on the rest of the country. The continuing threat of the judicial redefinition of marriage, here and in several other states, is why I believe that the best and most reliable way to preserve the institution of marriage is to pass an amendment to the U.S. Constitution."

When he ran for governor in 2002, Romney declared his opposition to both same-sex marriage and civil unions. "Call me old fashioned, but I don't support gay marriage nor do I support civil union," said Romney in an October 2002 gubernatorial debate. He also voiced support for basic domestic partnership benefits for gay couples. Romney told the Log Cabin Club of Massachusetts (a Republican gay-rights group) that he did not support same-sex marriage or civil unions, but would fight discrimination against gays and lesbians. He also opposed an amendment, then before the General Court, that would have banned same-sex marriage and outlawed all domestic partnership benefits for gay couples. As a result, the Log Cabin Club endorsed Romney in the gubernatorial election. . When campaigning in 2002, Romney's stated position was that "all citizens deserve equal rights, regardless of sexual orientation" and that "homosexuals should have the right to a domestic partnership status that affords them the potential for health benefits and rights of survivorship."

During his 1994 campaign against Senator Edward Kennedy, Romney said that same-sex marriage "is not appropriate at this time" but supported Federal legislation that would prohibit discrimination in the workplace against homosexuals.

In December 2004, Romney announced plans to file a death penalty bill in early 2005.

The bill, filed April 28, 2005, sought to reinstate the death penalty in cases that include terrorism, the assassination of law enforcement officials and multiple killings. Romney's legislation required the presence of scientific evidence such as DNA to sentence someone to death and a tougher standard of "no doubt" of guilt for juries to sentence defendants. This differs from the "beyond a reasonable doubt" standard used in traditional criminal cases. The legislation called for a pool of certified capital case lawyers to ensure proper representation for the accused and allowed jurors who do not personally support the death penalty to serve in the guilt phase of the trial.

The Massachusetts House of Representatives defeated the bill 99-53.

Drunk driving: Melanie's Bill

In May of 2005 Governor Romney presented a proposal to the Massachusetts General Court to crack down on repeat drunk drivers. Massachusetts had some of the weakest drunk driving laws of any state in the country. The state was losing $9 million annually from its highway budget because existing laws were not in compliance with federal standards. Romney dubbed the legislation "Melanie's Bill" in honor of 13-year-old Melanie Powell. Melanie was killed in 2003 by a repeat drunk driver while walking to the beach with friends. The bill included provisions that gave prosecutors greater power to go after repeat offenders with stiffer penalties. It also increased license suspensions, raised sentencing guidelines and required repeat drunk drivers to install ignition-interlock devices in their vehicles. Governor Romney urged Massachusetts residents to contact their representatives and ask them to adopt the tough new laws. The state House Judiciary Committee stripped many of the tough new provisions of Melanie's Law and sent a watered-down version to an eventual conference committee. Five of the six members of this conference committee were themselves trial lawyers who defended drunk drivers. The scaled back version of the legislation that reached the Governor's desk bore little resemblance to Romney's original plan. In response, the Governor filed amendments to restore some of the key provisions that had been omitted by the legislature. Appearing with families of drunk driving victims at State House press conferences, Romney rallied public support for Melanie's Bill. A massive outcry in favor of the Governor's plan forced the state legislature to consider Romney's amendments. Pressured by angry constituents and negative media coverage, the House and the Senate restored many of the tough provisions included in the original legislation. In October of 2005 Romney signed Melanie's Bill into law, creating the toughest drunk driving regulations in Massachusetts history.

Abortion

Romney has identified himself as a pro-life politician. He does not support abortion except in cases of rape, incest, and when the life of the mother is threatened. He has been a vocal opponent of the Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade, criticizing "'one size fits all' judicial pronouncements". Romney's spokesperson has also indicated that were he the governor of South Dakota, he would sign into law the controversial abortion ban, but include exceptions for cases of incest or rape, which the South Dakota law excludes.

Prior to his run for governor, Romney told a newspaper in Salt Lake City that he did not want to be classified as a "pro-choice" politician.

During the 2002 governor's race, Romney voiced his personal opposition to abortion, but promised to maintain the Massachusetts abortion laws if elected. Romney's platform stated, "As Governor, Mitt Romney would protect the current pro-choice status quo in Massachusetts. No law would change. The choice to have an abortion is a deeply personal one. Women should be free to choose based on their own beliefs, not the government's." Although he told voters that he was personally opposed to abortion, Romney said that he would respect the will of the pro-choice majority in Massachusetts. Referencing the established abortion laws in Massachusetts, Romney said that he would "preserve and protect a woman's right to choose...I will not change any provisions in Massachusetts' pro-choice laws."

Romney has said that his views on abortion have "evolved" and "changed" since 2002 such that he now considers himself a "pro-life governor" who wishes "the laws of our nation could reflect that view."

Romney says that his views on abortion were drastically altered after discussing stem cell research with a pair of experts from Harvard University. The Harvard Stem Cell Institute was planning research that would have involved therapeutic cloning. The Governor was appalled when one of the scientists declared that the research "is not a moral issue because we kill the embryos at 14 days."

"I looked over at Beth Myers, my chief of staff, and we both had exactly the same reaction, which is it just hit us hard," recalled Romney "And as they walked out, I said, ‘Beth, we have cheapened the sanctity of life by virtue of the Roe v. Wade mentality.’"

In 1994, Romney also said that he was personally opposed to abortion. He also said that he became committed to legalized abortion after the death of a family friend in an illegal abortion made him see "that regardless of one's beliefs about choice, you would hope it would be safe and legal."

"Many years ago, I had a dear, close family relative that was very close to me who passed away from an illegal abortion," Romney said in a televised debate opposite Senator Edward Kennedy. "It is since that time my mother and my family have been committed to the belief that we can believe as we want, but we will not force our beliefs on others on that matter. And you will not see me wavering on that." The person Romney was referring to was a teenage girl engaged to marry a member of Romney's extended family. Romney's sister Jane has said that the girl's death changed the family's perspective on the legality of abortion.

Romney has said he has kept his campaign promises. Romney vetoed an emergency contraception bill in July 2005, claiming that allowing it to pass into law would violate his "moratorium" on changes to the abortion laws..

In 2005, Romney's top political strategist, Michael Murphy, told the National Review that the Governor had "been a pro-life Mormon faking it as a pro-choice friendly." Murphy later explained that he "was discussing a characterization the governor's critics use."

Stem cell research

Although Romney has stated that he supports the use of surplus embryos from fertility clinics for stem-cell research, he vetoed a Massachusetts bill to fund stem-cell research because the legislation allowed the cloning of human embryos. "I am not in favor of creating new human embryos through cloning," said Romney, calling the practice "a matter of profound moral and ethical consequence." Romney also opposed the legislation because of its assertion that life does not begin until an embryo is implanted in a uterus. "It is very conceivable that scientific advances will allow an embryo to be grown for a substantial period of time outside the uterus," Romney said in an interview with the Boston Globe. "To say that it is not life at one month or two months or four months or full term, just because it had never been in a uterus, would be absurd." The state legislature overrode Romney's veto, with many legislators feeling that stem-cell research will be important in the future to the state's biotech industry..

On September 23, 2004, Romney signed legislation prohibiting employment discrimination against members of the military, including those serving in the National Guard and Reserve. The bill also created a “Commission on Veterans’ Employment Opportunities”. In February 2005, Romney filed legislation to increase benefits for Massachusetts National Guard members. Working with the state legislature, Romney developed the “Welcome Home Bill” which provides guardsman with reduced life-insurance premiums and free tuition and fees at Massachusetts universities and community colleges. The bill also increases daily state active-duty pay rate from $75 to $100, and increases the death benefit paid to families of Guard members killed in the line of duty from $5,000 to $100,000. Additionally, the “Welcome Home Bill” creates a $1,000 bonus for Guardsman called to active duty in Iraq and Afghanistan since Sept. 11, 2001 and a $500 bonus for those who were activated for duty elsewhere. The legislation provides a $2,000 benefit for Gold Star spouses and increases the Gold Star parents’ benefit from $1,500 to $2,000. High school diplomas will also be granted to veterans who dropped out to enlist in World War II, Korea or Vietnam wars. Romney signed the bill into law on Veterans Day 2005.

In a November 3, 2006 press release, Romney stated that the account that funds the insurance benefits created in the “Welcome Home Bill” faced a deficit of $64,000. The Massachusetts legislature was out of session at the time of the shortfall. According to the press release, Romney transferred money from the governor’s office budget to cover the deficit.

Working with the legislature, Romney developed legislation to provide tax exemptions to disabled veterans and benefits to families of fallen and missing soldiers. The Governor signed The Massachusetts Military Enhanced Relief Individual Tax (MERIT) Plan into law on August 14, 2006. The bill increases property tax exemptions for disabled veterans and grants spouses of veterans killed or missing in action since September 11, 2001 full property tax exemptions for five years. After 5 years the spouses receive an annual $2,500 exemption under the legislation.

Romney was also the first governor in Massachusetts history to appoint a secretary of veteran’s affairs to his cabinet. .

Romney’s efforts to assist Massachusetts servicemen were recognized by the Employer Support for the Guard and Reserve, which presented him with the Pro Patria Award and the 2006 Secretary of Defense Employer Freedom Award.

In-state tuition bill

Romney vetoed a bill in 2004 that would have allowed illegal immigrants to obtain in-state tuition rates at state colleges if they graduated from a Massachusetts high school after attending it for at least three years and signed an affidavit affirming that they intended to seek citizenship. Romney vowed to veto the bill again if it ever made it to his desk, arguing that the bill would cost the state government $15 million and that Massachusetts should not reward illegal immigration. A study by the Massachusetts Taxpayer Association predicted that the legislation would generate over $5 million in state revenues, however the Massachusetts Coalition for Immigration Reform disputed this conclusion. In 2005, the bill was reintroduced to the House and brought to a vote on January 11, 2006. The legislation was defeated 96-57.

On December 2, 2006, it was reported that a landscaping company Romney contracted to perform yard work had been suspected of employing illegal immigrants. Romney has said that he was unaware of the immigration status of the company's employees.

Environment

Romney supports regulation of greenhouse gas emissions, primarily through voluntary measures He issued a 72-point Climate Protection Plan. His staffers spent more than $500,000 negotiating the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI--pronounced "Reggie"), which Romney praised in November 2005, saying "I'm convinced it is good business." As plan details were being worked out, Romney pushed for a cap on fees charged to businesses who exceed emission limits citing concerns of increased consumer energy costs. He stated: "New England has the highest energy rates in the country, and RGGI would cost us more." This ongoing disagreement eventually led Romney and Rhode Island Governor Donald Carcieri to pull out of the RGGI in December of 2005.

In November 2006, Romney cut $7 million from the maintenance budget for the state's parklands, which are the sixth largest state park system in the country. Romney also cut $154,590 for environmental law enforcement, $288,900 for cleaner water in communities, and $181,886 for hazardous waste cleanup.

Romney opposes the controversial Cape Wind offshore wind farm proposed for Nantucket Sound. Romney has stated that the proposed Cape Wind project would depress property values and damage the local economy, which depends on tourism; he has described the area as pristine and a "national treasure". Cape Wind supporters have accused Romney and federal lawmakers of "back-door deal-making" in an attempt to kill the project. Conversely, elected leaders in Massachusetts have accused Cape Wind developers of receiving a "back-room deal" for the 24 square miles of state controlled property to be used in the proposed project. However, Romney has voiced support for wind projects in Princeton, Hull and other Massachusetts towns.

Romney cites achieving energy independence as one of his key issues; he supports expanding alternative energy solutions including biodiesel, ethanol, nuclear, and coal gasification, and is in favor of drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) and the outer continental shelf to find more domestic sources of oil. In August of 2006, Romney unveiled an energy plan that called for improved energy-efficiency requirements for state buildings, increased use of biofuels in the state automobile fleet, the creation of a prize-rewards lottery for consumers who buy energy-efficient equipment, and proposals for wind and biomass power-generation for state facilities.

Other issues