Mitt Romney

Right Wing Round-Up - 10/18/12

Romney Distorts His Record As Governor

During Tuesday’s presidential debate, Mitt Romney continued to sell himself as a turnaround artist and savior of the economy—a former CEO whose stellar business acumen will create an abundance of jobs (12 million in four years, to be exact), champion small businesses, and improve the middle class.

But what Romney failed to mention is that when he inherited Massachusetts’ damaged economy in 2003, he was unable to spur the economic growth he had promised in his gubernatorial campaign. And it doesn’t stop at an unsuccessful economic policy. Many of the “accomplishments” that Romney touted last night, such as his education policies and his advocacy of women in the workplace, were futile as well. If we delve deeper into Romney’s record as governor of Massachusetts and look past the lies he spouts, we can foreshadow what a Romney presidency would look like. And it’s not a very promising vision.

Last night at the debate, Romney promoted his five-point plan, alleging that he “knows why jobs come and go.” He claimed that he knew “what it takes to get this economy going.” But does he? Here is how Romney’s leadership played out in the Massachusetts economy from 2003 to 2007:

  • In Romney’s four years as governor, Massachusetts ranked 47th out of 50 in job growth. Jobs growth over that period was a pitiful 0.9 percent.
  • Massachusetts only gained one percent in payroll jobs under Romney, compared to 5.3% in the nation as a whole.
  • The net number of jobs added during the four years Romney was in office was 24,400 – a fraction of the total of about 200,000 lost during the recession.
  • Manufacturing jobs in Massachusetts declined by more than 14 percent, the third worst record in the country. The loss was double the rate that the nation as a whole lost manufacturing jobs.
  • Massachusetts infrastructure accrued a $20 billion deficit of overdue maintenance by the end of Romney’s term, according to the Massachusetts Taxpayer’s Foundation.
  • Between 2003 and 2005 the median hourly wage for Massachusetts workers fell 5%–the largest decline in the country during that period.
  • Under Romney, Massachusetts had the 3rd highest rate of domestic out-migration.

Though Romney assaults Obama’s economic record, job growth in the U.S. has been swifter under Obama than job growth in Massachusetts under Romney.

Romney also likes to flaunt the education policies he put in place in Massachusetts. Last night at the debate, he boasted about his John and Abigail Adams Scholarship, which he claimed would send the top quarter of each high school class to the Massachusetts college of their choice tuition-free. But this is not the full picture. Here is the reality of Romney’s education policies in Massachusetts, according to a report in the Boston Globe:

  • Romney’s valued John and Abigail Adams Scholarships cover only tuition at state colleges, not fees , which account for more than 80 percent of yearly costs at some schools. Just a quarter of the recipients actually choose to attend state colleges.
  • Massachusetts students regularly score at the top on national and international tests. But that achievement is largely due to the state’s 1993 landmark education reform law.
  • Mitt Romney campaigned for governor in 2002 in favor of eradicating the nation’s first bilingual education law and instead immersing non-English speakers in classrooms where only English would be taught.
  • In 2006, three years after the law Romney campaigned for went into effect, new state tests showed that 83 percent of students learning English as a second language in the third through twelfth grades could not read, write, speak or understand English well enough for regular classes after their first year in Massachusetts schools.

When asked about pay equity, Romney highlighted his efforts as governor of Massachusetts to hire women to work in his administration. However he does not have a history of appointing women to high-level positions in the private sector, nor did he appoint many women to judicial positions:

Romney’s record in Massachusetts related to women’s health is also not very encouraging:

  • Romney vetoed a bill to require hospitals to offer emergency contraception to rape victims.
  • Romney vetoed $35,678 for early breast cancer detection and research.
  • Romney vetoed $2.8 million for cervical and breast cancer treatment.

Romney is right that his record as governor of Massachusetts shows us a lot about how he would act as president. But he’s intentionally misleading voters about what that record is.

PFAW

Right Wing Round-Up - 10/17/12

Debate Exposes Importance of Supreme Court to Working Women

The discussion of Lilly Ledbetter highlights the threat to working women that Mitt Romney's Supreme Court would pose.
PFAW

CWA Tries to Win Over Women By Claiming Romney Can’t Overturn Roe v. Wade

Concerned Women for America is trying out a novel strategy in its fight to draw women to support Mitt Romney this November: denying that the next president can do anything to eliminate abortion rights. In a new TV ad, CWA counters a MoveOn.org ad featuring female celebrities talking about the issue of reproductive rights in the presidential election. In the CWA ad, women derisively call the MoveOn.org supporters “Hollywood women” and mock the contention that a President Mitt Romney would “overturn Roe v. Wade.”

“Have they ever heard of the separation of powers?” asks one Concerned Woman.


Maybe it’s CWA that needs the civics lesson. Mitt Romney has repeatedly stated that he would choose Supreme Court justices who would overturn Roe v. Wade. It even says so on his website. With as many as three Justices possibly retiring in the next four years, Romney might very well have the opportunity to shape a court that would take away the right to choose.

Which, of course, is what CWA has been working toward since its founding. A petition on CWA’s website calls for signers to support “any and all legislative efforts to overturn Roe v. Wade” and “support pro-life nominees to the courts.” A pamphlet the group distributed shortly before President Obama's inauguration said anti-choice advocates should work to "pass limits on abortion and appoint judges who will overturn Roe." And here’s the CWA’s blog discussing an Alabama Supreme Court ruling in February that challenged Roe.

This ruling has major implications for the pro-life movement. First, it clearly mirrors the growing sentiments of a majority of Americans who are pro-life, especially our younger generation. Second, Alabama has set a clear precedent that more states are expected to emulate. Finally, as state laws continue to represent Americans’ growing pro-life attitude, the U.S. Supreme Court will be called upon to reconsider and, ultimately, repeal Roe.

Unveiling the deception of Roe shouldn’t be a difficult task. Mario Diaz, Esq., Legal Counsel for Concerned Women for America, explains, “Legally speaking, Roe v. Wade is simply indefensible. It rests on the false premise that the ‘fetus’ is not a ‘person’ because the Justices say so. The scientific bases for that claim simply were not there in 1973, and they are not there now. In fact, JusticeBlackmun acknowledged that ‘[i]f this suggestion of personhood is established, [Roe's] case, of course, collapses, for the fetus’ right to life would then be guaranteed specifically by the [Fourteenth] Amendment.’ Advances in science have been proving just that: we are dealing with a baby, not a blob of tissue as some conveniently tried to tell us. This decision by the Alabama Supreme Court is another indication that Roe‘s house of cards is slowly tumbling down.”

Pro-life conservatives can only hope that the Supreme Court revisits the abortion question sooner rather than later. With a few more decisions like the one in Alabama, we may just hold the legal trump card when that time comes.

Romney himself as also tried this tactic, claiming that there is nothing he would do to restrict abortion rights. A New York Times editorial this morning sets that notion straight.

 

People For the American Way Expands Latino Vote Campaign, Launches New TV Ad in Four Swing States

Washington, DC -- People For the American Way expanded its campaign targeting Latino voters this week, adding outreach in Nevada and North Carolina and launching the second in a series of Spanish-language television ads exposing Mitt Romney's dangerous agenda for Latinos. The ad, running in key markets in Nevada, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin, features interviews with real voters reacting to Romney's promise to veto the DREAM Act if it were to be passed by Congress. The two TV ads, along with radio and direct mail outreach are part of a $1.2 million and growing campaign in key swing states.
 
The new ad, "Dream Act," can be viewed here.
 
"Mitt Romney has been very clear about his extreme anti-Latino agenda," said Michael Keegan, president of People For the American Way. "He slammed Justice Sonia Sotomayor, the first Hispanic Supreme Court Justice. He touted the endorsement of Kris Kobach, the architect of disastrous, draconian anti-immigrant measures in Arizona and Alabama. He vowed to make life so difficult for undocumented immigrants that they would be forced to 'self-deport.' He even rejected the DREAM Act, which after being partially implemented by President Obama's executive order, is helping thousands of loyal, hard-working young Americans give back to the country they call home."
 
"Romney plans to heap further tax cuts on the wealthiest at the expense of programs that benefit working people,"continued Keegan. "Americans should have a shot at the American dream. Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan want to slam the door on all but the already privileged few."

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Supreme Court to Hear Arizona Voting Rights Case

The Supreme Court announced today that it will hear a critical voting rights case next year. Arizona has appealed a 9th Circuit decision that barred the state from requiring proof of citizenship from those registering to vote via a federally-approved registration form. Current federal law allows voters to register via federal form instead of a state-specific form. Those opting to do so must swear under penalty of perjury that they are citizens. Arizona’s law, which is currently stayed, would require voters using that form to jump over an extra hurdle to register, requiring them to show proof of their citizenship, a provision disproportionately affecting low-income and minority voters.

The AP explains:

The ruling applies only to people who seek to register using the federal mail-in form. Arizona has its own form and an online system to register when renewing a driver's license. The court ruling did not affect proof of citizenship requirements using the state forms.

Arizona officials have said most people use those methods and the state form is what county officials give people to use to register. But voting rights advocates had hoped the 9th Circuit decision would make the federal mail-in card more popular because it's more convenient than mailing in a state form with a photocopy of proof of citizenship.

The mail-in card is particularly useful for voter registration drives, said Robert Kengle of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, which is representing Native American and Hispanic groups in the case.

The conservative wing of the Supreme Court has been eager to challenge voting rights laws in recent years. In 2008, a 6-3 majority of the court upheld Indiana’s voter ID law, paving the way for suppressive voter ID measures throughout the country. The Court may also hear a challenge to section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, which requires federal preclearance for voting rights changes in states and counties with a history of discrimination at the ballot box. Successful court challenges to discriminatory voting law changes this year have shown just how essential that provision still is.

While the composition of the Supreme Court is unlikely to change before these cases are heard, they underscore the importance of federal courts in this election. Not only are federal courts the final protection we have against discriminatory voter suppression laws, the makeup of these courts is on the line in the presidential election. Either Mitt Romney or President Obama could pick up to three Supreme Court Justices and dozens of federal court judges in the next term. Romney has promised to appoint Justices like Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas, who have both signaled their hostility to voting rights. If he does, and the Court shifts farther to the right, we could see decades of progress for fair and free elections slip away.

PFAW

CitU Spending Overwhelmingly Benefits Romney

Since Labor Day, 70% of outside spending on the presidential race made possible by Citizens United has benefited Mitt Romney, according to a new analysis.
PFAW

Corporate Allies at the DC Circuit

When Big Business wants to dismantle laws protecting the American people, they turn to the DC Circuit.
PFAW

Beck: 'I Believe [Mitt Romney] Could Be Abraham Lincoln'

On Friday, Glenn Beck featured David Barton on his program as the two once again discussed the importance of prayer and fasting leading up to the election as demonstrated by President Lincoln fact that it was, according to Barton, Lincoln's proclamation of a day of prayer and fasting in the middle of the Civil War that decisively turned the tide:

And since this upcoming election is, according to Beck, the most important one since the election of Lincoln, that can only mean that Mitt Romney is the next Abraham Lincoln:

VP Debate Highlights the Importance of the Supreme Court

Joe Biden spells out the danger of a Supreme Court with Romney justices hand-picked by the infamous Robert Bork.
PFAW

College Diversity Case Shows Importance of Sup. Court as Election Issue

Since Bush replaced O'Connor with Alito, an important affirmative action precedent is now in doubt. The presidential election affects the Supreme Court and all of us.
PFAW

PFAW Calls on Romney to Come Clean About His Anti-Choice Agenda

In a meeting with the Des Moines Register editorial board yesterday, Gov. Mitt Romney stated, "There's no legislation with regards to abortion that I'm familiar with that would become part of my agenda.” People For the American Way today is calling on Romney to clarify his position on a woman’s right to choose.

Michael Keegan, President of People For the American Way, said:


“Mitt Romney has promised to appoint Supreme Court justices who would overturn Roe v. Wade, and has even stated that women have no constitutional right to contraception. He supported the Blunt Amendment, which would have allowed employers to deny their employees any health benefit that they decide is immoral. He has promised to ‘get rid of’ Planned Parenthood. He has vowed to reinstate the Mexico City Policy, which jeopardizes women’s health programs abroad in order to appease anti-choice activists. Either Romney has changed his position on these issues, or he is lying about the content of his agenda. Either way, voters deserve to know  the truth about Romney's anti-choice agenda.”

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The Romney Court: Losing Your Rights Has Never Been Easier!

This is Justice Antonin Scalia, who Mitt Romney and Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown both hold up as their model Supreme Court Justice, discussing his approach to some thorny Constitutional issues:

"The death penalty? Give me a break. It's easy. Abortion? Absolutely easy. Nobody ever thought the Constitution prevented restrictions on abortion. Homosexual sodomy? Come on. For 200 years, it was criminal in every state”

Looking forward to seeing your rights eliminated with “ease” by the Supreme Court? We have just the candidate for you.

PFAW

Beck: Romney's Debate Performance was Divine Providence

Last week, Glenn Beck and David Barton got together to discuss the importance of prayer and fasting heading into the upcoming election, with Beck proclaiming that considering that the Romney campaign was trailing in the polls and beset by negative press, when Romney wins the election it will have been nothing short of the work of God.

Yesterday, Beck brought Barton back on to his radio show to discuss the first presidential debate where Beck declared that his prayers were starting to be answered because the results were nothing short of divine providence:

Romney's Right Resorts to Racial Resentment

This week, on the eve of the first presidential debate, right-wing media, led by the Drudge Report, the Daily Caller, and Fox News, hyped a supposedly secret video that they dubbed “the other race speech.”  Fox News propagandist Sean Hannity tried desperately to portray the video as “explosive” footage that the liberal media had deliberately hid from voters to protect Barack Obama. Religious Right leaders played their part, with Liberty Counsel’s ludicrous Matt Barber demanding, “Romney simply must make ad upon ad out of this devastating video exposing Obama as a white-hating racist.”  Karl Rove, who with a cadre of right-wing billionaires has kept Republican hopes alive by funneling hundreds of millions of dollars into the election, piled on, saying Obama’s comments were designed to “stir up racial animosity” and called them “abhorrent.”

Of course, as it turned out, the video is neither news nor explosive.  It is a 2007 campaign speech that had been well covered by mainstream media at the time.  Ultimately what is newsworthy and offensive is not Obama’s 2007 speech, but the way that right-wing pundits, desperate to defeat him in November, have resorted to a brazen strategy of stoking racial resentment, and trying to create a distraction by accusing the president of doing the same thing.  Not only is Mitt Romney unwilling to stand up to the extremists in his own party, as President Obama pointed out in last night’s debate,  Romney and his campaign are fully engaged in destructive racial politicking. It’s worth noting the contrast with John McCain, who sometimes stood up to his party’s extremists; Romney cheers them on.
 
Some Romney backers are not even bothering to try to cloak the racial-resentment strategy.  Right-wing blogger John Hawkins flat-out declared this week, “Barack Obama is an Anti-White Racist.”  And he tweeted, “A white woman voting for Barack Obama is like a black woman voting for the KKK.” When Glenn Beck accused Obama of hating white people in 2009, the resulting uproar contributed to an exodus of advertisers from his show.  But in 2012, with the election on the line, there’s been no sign that the Romney campaign is troubled by Hawkins’ claims: his pro-Romney writing is still featured on the official campaign website.
 
Hawkins isn’t alone.  Earlier this year, American Family Association spokesman Bryan Fischer, told his radio listeners:  “I believe that President Obama has a fundamental dislike, a fundamental distaste, nay I would even say he’s got what borders on a hatred for white people, and he is out to punish America and the white folks that make up the majority of the American population.”
 
Salon’s Joan Walsh has dissected the outrageous distortions of Obama’s speech by Hannity and Tucker Carlson in a post about “right-wing racial panic.” Romney officials said the campaign was not responsible for the recent “release” of the 2007 speech, but as Buzzfeed’s Zeke Miller points out, they did not distance themselves from it either.  In fact a senior Romney advisor said that voters “have to look at that video and have to make up their mind on that individually.” 
 
Indeed, the Romney campaign itself has made an appeal to racial resentment a centerpiece of its outreach to working-class white voters, who outside the South have been pretty equally divided between Romney and Obama.  Exhibit A is the television ad campaign, pretty much universally acknowledged to be an outright lie, charging that Obama gutted welfare reform by getting rid of its work requirement.  One ad shows glum white workers while claiming that thanks to Obama, people no longer have to work or train for a job; “they just send you your welfare check.”  Later ads have repeated the same false charge.
 
Romney himself pushed the same point when, gloating to a Republican audience about having been booed when he told NAACP members that he would repeal “Obamacare.”  Romney characterized those who disagreed with his speech as people who “want more free stuff” from the government. Journalist Adele Stan of AlterNet has chronicled various ways the Romney campaign is using racial resentment and racially coded language, including the welfare ads, statements such as John Sununu’s claim that Obama needs to learn how to be American, and the choice of “Keep America America” – one letter away from the KKK’s “Keep America American” – as a campaign slogan.
 
Divisive racial politics have a long history in America, of course.  But there is also a more recent history: right-wing leaders have made the politics of racial resentment key to their attacks on President Obama throughout his presidency, as People For the American Way Foundation noted in its 2009 report, “Right Plays the Race Card.” And right-wing groups such as the National Organization for Marriage have made racial wedge issues a centerpiece of their anti-equality campaigns.After this week’s debate, Romney campaign co-chair Sununu described the president as “lazy” and “not that bright.”
 
Romney might get a bit of a bump out of this week’s debate, though the president’s prospects should be boosted by Friday’s good economic news.  The longer President Obama's lead in the polls holds up, the more likely it is that we will see destructive racial politicking from the rabid right-wing.

 

Right Wing Round-Up - 10/4/12

A Movement’s Katrina Moment

Romney's comments about the 47% are a clarifying moment that can forever change how Americans view him, his party, and the corporate right.
PFAW
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