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Our Guide to the Best Coverage of Mitt Romney and His Record

Beyond RomneyCare: A rundown of some of the best reading on Mitt Romney’s background and record.

Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney on June 20, 2011, in Aurora, Colo. (John Moore/Getty Images)

This is the latest installment in a series of reading guides on 2012 presidential candidates. Here are the other guides.

The basics:

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has long been considered the front-runner for the Republican nomination. The relatively middle-of-the-road, onetime presidential candidate has raised far more money than his competitors. Romney has also generated concern among some in the GOP that he is an "uninspired choice."

Romney is perhaps best known for implementing "RomneyCare," a 2006 health-care law mandating that all Massachusetts residents have health insurance. FactCheck.org has prepared a primer on the health-care law, looking into claims that it has bankrupted the state (it hasn't) and how many Bay Staters actually have health care (a bit over 98 percent).

If you really want to get a sense of what Romney's about, the Boston Globe published a seven-part profile in 2007, charting his development and years as governor. The section on Romney's tenure as the head of the 2002 Olympic planning committee is actually quite interesting and shows how Romney "tolerated little dissent." (Long-standing tension between Romney and Texas Gov. Rick Perry actually dates back to the Olympics: Perry, who "proudly wears an Eagle Scout pin on his lapel," was miffed Romney didn't allow Boy Scouts to be official volunteers during the games.)   

His background:

Romney began his career in business, eventually becoming the CEO of Bain and Co., a private equity firm. A few years later, Romney ran for Senate in 1994 against Ted Kennedy and lost. After a brief sojourn helping to organize the Winter Olympics, Romney was elected governor of Massachusetts, serving from 2002 to 2006.

If elected, Romney would be America's first Mormon president. The Pew Research Center has a selection of recommended reading on Romney's faith. In 2006, Romney delivered a speech on the role of religion in America and how he believes his faith would inform his presidency if he were elected. A 2007 New York Times article describes Romney's efforts to appeal to evangelicals.

His record:

On the trail, Romney has emphasized his record of creating jobs. But the Los Angeles Times reports that when Romney was governor, Massachusetts had one of the lowest job-creation rates in the country. Bloomberg News also notes that while Bain grew with Romney as CEO, it also cut plenty of jobs.

As governor, Romney took control of the Big Dig, a huge tunnel and highway project in Boston that was already mired in scandal over misspent funds and unsafe design. The Washington Post details how his claims that he would turn the project around never materialized, leaving Boston residents wondering: "If he can't handle [turnpike authority director] Matt Amorello, how is he going to handle Korea or Iran?"

Unlike GOP presidential hopefuls Ron Paul, Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry, Romney was in favor of the stimulus.

Romney has also been criticized for having once held moderate positions on abortion, gun control and gay rights. He describes himself as pro-life, though he said during his 1994 Senate run that "abortion should be safe and legal in this country."

Romney opposed the legalization of gay marriage in Massachusetts and recently signed a pledge that he will defend the Defense of Marriage Act if elected president.

The American Spectator deemed him a "Rockefeller Republican," and it didn't mean that as a compliment. Romney has taken a lot of heat from conservatives for criticizing Obama's health-care law, while defending the Massachusetts health-care legislation he introduced that served as a model for Obama's bill.

Following the money:

The New York Times' ultra-handy tool for comparing the candidates shows that as of early summer Romney's fundraising was about four-times that of any other Republican. Romney's fundraising paled in comparison to that of another possible competitor, President Obama. (The numbers are a few months old since candidates are only required to file quarterly.)

OpenSecrets.org has a summary of Romney's campaign contributors and a guide to the Super PACs supporting the 2012 candidates.

Two campaign-finance watchdog groups called for a Federal Election Commission inquiry after a Romney Super PAC received a mysterious $1 million donation from a company that dissolved shortly afterward. After calls for an investigation, former Bain Capital executive Edward Conard identified himself as the donor. The Boston Globe has a piece summing up the concerns the episode raises. Romney says that the secrecy of the donation is no longer an issue now that Conard has identified himself.

Kay Manwaring

Aug. 30, 2011, 1:08 p.m.

I looked forward to your article.  Then I saw who you were using as source references and that negated any thought of fair reporting of record.  I suppose you used the same type of sources for the other candidates too.  You choice of “reading guides” is rather poor in my opinion.  I have already read so many of them.  I think people would be better served to go to the candidate’s own sites.  Word of mouth is a horrible way to learn of something or someone.  Would you like your life judged by the media of the present day?

I had hoped for something better.

Annette Botti

Aug. 30, 2011, 1:50 p.m.

Thanks, Kay,  I’m trying to get a clear understanding of the GOP candidates’ platforms and backgrounds. I’m following your advice and linking directly to the candidates’ own websites.
Would you know the deadline for declaring that a person will be a running hopeful?  I’d like to know more about Sarah Palin, but if she’s not only to run then I don’t want to waste my time or confuse my understanding of the issues with her statements.

Barry Schmittou

Aug. 30, 2011, 2:13 p.m.

Mr. Romney you recently said “Corporations are people”

Good luck explaining that on Judgment Day and in your “appeal to evangelicals”

I sincerely pray you will see the Psychopathic destruction that your corporate contributors are causing. There is such an obvious and intricate pattern of death and destruction I believe we must be witnessing the “wickedness in high places” mentioned in Ephesians 6:12

You do not have a phone number listed on your website so I will send this comment and evidence to you via :

mittromney.com/contact

I am struggling to be a Christian and I would like you to know that I think if you really believe in God you will take action on this evidence.
It seems there are a lot of candidates, especially the Republicans, and Obama, who say they are Christians but they protect corporate mass murderers.

Not only does this destroy thousands of lives every year, but you may turn people away from God if you use God for political gain.

We really need God’s help in every way including the following :
Quotes from numerous Federal Court Judges prove doctors’ paid by MetLife and other insurance companies ignore life threatening medical conditions including brain lesions and Multiple Sclerosis, cardiac conditions of many patients, and a foot that a new mother broke in 5 places.

Multiple Judges prove MetLife is also very fond of endangering Psychological claimants lives !!

Obama’s DOL and DOJ Directors have seen this evidence but will do nothing to stop these crimes even though the patients may die before their case is heard by the Courts !!!!

The quotes can be seen at the following website :
deadlyorganizedcrimes.blogspot.com

You can see how multiple insurance companies are committing identical crimes in five different types of insurance by going to :
treasonevidence.blogspot.com

You can see how these companies commit frauds and rig bids to increase sales by going to :

bidriggingandhealthcarefraud.blogspot.com

Mr. Romney, I have just sent this evidence to you via your website. It is titled Urgent Message - Mass Murders Committed By Campaign Contributors !!

I hope and pray you will take action !!

Oh right! Going to their websites will tell you everything you need to know…how naive can you be. These liars, and despots are lying through their newly cleaned teeth. You wont find out that all those corporations Romney bought through Bain Capital, fired the employees, resold the company for billions and then put all that cash in the Caymans to avoid paying ANY tax on it….just what we need another billionaire as presidunce…they will surely empathize with the problems felt by the middle class and the working class. 98% of the people vs. 2% of the filthy rich. Unless your part of the 2% you would be voting against yourself… Romeny is a corporate fraud, Bachman is a lunatic and just insane…and Parry is the biggest Pay to Player making Blago look like a kindergartener.

Back to basics:

Romney is a white Obama!

Wickedness in high places does not take the form of a corporation, but rather the person running the corporation.  This was exactly Romney’s point.  Those perpetrating these despicable acts of greed and excess that everyone refers to as “corporations” are actually just people using the corporation to mask their actions.  Romney was trying to help people understand that point—that these faceless atrocities everyone calls “corporations” are really just shells or masks worn by people.  They can be as good or bad as the people running them.  Therefore, corporations really are people.

Kay Manwaring

Aug. 30, 2011, 3:12 p.m.

Annette,  I don’t have an actual place for you to look, but I did find the following:
  http://www.theatlanticwire.com/politics/2011/08/only-nine-more-weeks-palin-2012-speculation/41769/

Spktruth200
I understand why you might not trust a candidates site.  I think you get more information from them their though than from the sound bites, opinions and spin through the media.  If you can attend town halls that always helps.  Check out the debates,

September 7 from the Ronald Reagan Library Hosted by MSNBC and Politico

September 12 from Tampa Florida Hosted by CNN and the Tea Pary Express

September 22 from Orlando Florida Hosted by the Republican Party and Fox News

Kay Manawring

Aug. 30, 2011, 3:15 p.m.

Annette,

I sent some information, it is being held for “moderation”.  I don’t know why.  Lets see if it comes through.  Good luck to you

You get information about all these candidates from local newspapers who have covered them. They cant hide fronm their own words, the video tapes, and when they try to double down on their own words they are viewed as the hypocrites they are. Parry for example as his book out only 9months ago, (wants to get rid of social security the biggest ponzi scheme), really Rick. How Christian of you. Literally every civilized nation in the world has a safety net for their people, its because we care about our brothers and sisters as all the religions of the world claim to do. Bachman, never met a profit she didnt like. She has actually lied so many times that she has become the laughing stock of the country. Parry executed more people than all Governors put together! How christian, and one was none throughout Texas to be innocent. Parry is a hooker lover, and his marriage has been in trouble several times because of his coking and prostitutes….did you get any of that from his website?  Parry had 9 billion in a rainy day fund, talked against the stimulus $ with one side of his mouth, while accepting it with the other. He used that stim money to hire PUBLIC employees at min. wage (no benefits) so he could claim “he created more jobs than all other candidates”....In Texas, students cant pass the SAT tests? Perry cut teachers so much their classrooms hold 40 to 45 students without teachers who are certified to teach the subject. (Preparing our kids for wallmart or waitress jobs). Health care: Texas is 47th in the nation in delivering of health care to their people. is this what we want nationally, a dumbed down population who cant compete in a global economy! Getting rid of the EPA, , Fema, Education, Food inspections? Thats what these idiots want to do to this country make us a 3 rd world nation, a banana republic. I want my country back from the tea baggers and republican corporates who are threw with the american public. they have stolen our treasury, committed war crimes, sullied the american value system, and made us the most hated country in the world. I want my country back from the teabaggers and corporates like the Koch Brothers, Coors family, and from Dick Armey and his fake grassroots organization all funded by lobbyists of corporate america. I want democracy back, not corportacry.

I know you need money to pay bills, and run campaigns, but i’m sick and tired of hearing about candidates purportedly leading because of how much money they’ve raised for their campaign. It’s basically accepted that candidates buy elections. Hopefully the use of the Internet will force change in this mentality. It even can say something about a candidate by revelations of who gave what to support that candidate, like Conard, a former employee of Romney’s.

Barry Schmittou

Aug. 30, 2011, 4:36 p.m.

Thank you for the excellent explanation Tyson !!

It’s such a shame the wickedness in high places has become so widespread !!

I’m still very concerned about the corporate personhood the U.S. Supreme Court has used to allow faceless contibutors buy any candidate who will sell their soul.

Additionally, I would be surprised if Romney or any candidate will do anything about medical doctors paid by MetLife ignoring life threatening medical conditions including brain lesions and Multiple Sclerosis, cardiac conditions of many patients, and a foot that a new mother broke in 5 places.

FYI ... Bain & Co. is a consulting firm ... Bain Capital is their affliated private equity firm.

It’s sad to see someone like Romney run from his moderate record to pander to ultra-conservative Republican sect in order to get the nomination.

Rich

Excuse the disrespect, but anyone who thinks they are going to get truthful information from a candidate’s website, is hopelessly naive and not voter material IMHO. When you ask the snake oil salesman if his product will cure whatever, do you expect him to answer in a manner that benefits him or harms him?

If this is what you consider the “best coverage” of Romney’s candidacy you have lost me as a subscriber.  You simply regurgitated or directly repeated articles from what is generally accepted as liberal media sources. Where’s the INDEPENDENT analysis?
I expected more from Propublica.org but it looks like the Soros contributions have in fact created undue influence.

I am glad to see the general public is finally waking up and seeing the reality of our situation. The people are longer buying into the constant barage of lies; and are more aware of the deceptions - the media appears to be happy to spread the lies. Every poll I have seen, including the Iowa Straw Poll, shows the people are not selecting Romney, Perry, Huntsman, etc. The media totally ignores (except John Stewart) Ron Paul despite the fact the voters are selecting him over Romney, Perry, and the others. It appears Bachman was a fluke; or perhaps the voting public are seeing her for who she really is. Does the voting public, the working class of America really want to go back in time - relive the Bush years - eight years of geoverance that drove America into a deep dark pit? Do Americans really want someone in office who will eventually totally destroy America as we once knew it? The majority if the politicians are clueless, and are not listening to the voices of America; in fact they are ignoring the screams for truth and justice. The behavior of our leaders is shocking; they appear to have no skills when it comes to putting Americans back to work and thereby returning the economy to a state of strength. There are millions and millions of citizens who are the middle class, and only a small group of the “wealthiest”. If the path continues to be destruction (as in wars) and a complete full frontal assault on the working class America will indeed be bankrupt and destitute, we will succeed in becoming just another third world country lead by those dictators in government. That is the problem with our current philosphy in the USA; we will not succeed unless all future efforts are for the “greater good for all”

If lyou read the newspapers and hear the reports coming out of Texas as to what Parry has done to Texas…and you think this nutbag is even qualified to run for President than you deny the facts. Propublica is one of the best forums out here for getting the truth. I appreciate all their reports and articles which are based in fact, not in right winger, or teabagger non facts. This is not Faux News!

The statement re jobs record is incomplete and misleading.  Low job creation, but low unemployment. Is that a good or bad job record? You imply which way you lean, leaving the reader to discover the issue on their own.  Also, you cite the Boston Globe on an opinion about his toleration of dissent.  Kinda like asking a Red Sox fan about the NY Yankees legacy: not much help.
Pretty disappointed in this article, not up to your standards.

President Obama just signed a bill that corporations who have been denying anyone who lost their job a job…those days are now over. There can e no discrimination in hiring. Who doesnt know that corporate america and Wall street are sitting on trillions of dollars while the people get more and more poor and unable to make ends meet. If you think millionaires and billionaires like Romney or that idiot Parry cares a whit about the middle and working class, do think again. Their records prove it. Romney lost jobs in Mass while he was Governor and Parry used the stimulus monies (he supposedly hates) to hire minimum wage workers….working for his government. I thought the baggers hated public sector jobs…this is the kind of hypocrisy the voters better find out before voting for any republican. Black americans have 45% unemployment, do you believe they are not qualified for these jobs? Of course they are. The teabaggers want the minorities en masse in the streets, because the baggers know the majority of them will vote democratic. So they have to try and make them angry enough they will start rioting….thats what the right wingers are all about. They cant win on the records, or the issues.

To be fair, this article was a bit light, but it is a great starting point.  Unfortunately, it seems today’s electorate would like all their opinions fed to them, rather than using their own critical thinking skills to research the information for themselves.

The gift of the Internet is that a mass of information is available for anyone who seeks it. The bane (no pun intended) of the Internet is that you can always find places and opinions that agree with your view of the world and stop there, much like cable news.

Mitt Romney and his fellow Republican candidates have made a slew of claims regarding not only the problems we face, but the solutions to those problems.  In particular, Mr. Romney, like Rick Perry, has offered his own record of performance as a governor for the purpose of giving himself credibility on the solutions he proposes, and to that end, his statements should be examined directly against his past performance record.

Romney coined himself a “job creator” and claims he knows how to create jobs.  But, as this article points out, though MA does have a low unemployment rate, his performance as governor did not create that many jobs.  Worse, his stint at private equity firm Bain Capital proved to do quite the opposite from creating jobs, as their leveraged buyout model serves to cannibalize companies, not build them. 

Just because a duck calls itself a spade doesn’t make it so.  Facts, history, and context do matter.

If, WE the people are the government, then we shouldnt have a problem with government. (We can vote them out)! What is the problem is disaster capitalism, corporatism running the government. Our government was never supposed to be run as a corporation, or a company or the way we run our families homes.

The GOP is and always has been We the corporation, For the Corporation, By the corporation. Its these unregulated corporations and I include the corporate owned media who are responsible not only for the selling out of the citizens for corporations, but for not using the media as it is supposed to be used. The media is to be present the facts, tell the story as factually and truthful as possible and then we the people using our great brains, decide the issues and who best supports our issues.

The GOP created the Teaparty, the media ran with it, promoted it. The corporate media NEVER explained the difference between a for profit (Nixon) health care system, and Medicare a (government ADMINISTERED health care system). The media receives billions in their newsrooms to run ads for Cialis, Viagra and other Big pharma drugs. Not one newspaper nor corporate owned media station EVER told us the truth about a single payer system, what it is, what it will do, and the billions of dollars saved by throwing out the for profit system and having a single payer system.

Another example is WAR. GOP loves war, they promote these imperialistic wars for the benefactors on Wall Street, the military industrial complex. Trillions spent on war machines, terrifing poor uneducated people all over the planet, to steal their resources for our corporations. Our soldiers are nothing more than goon squads, trained to kill, and brainwashed into believing they are aiding and abetting democracy of the US.

Romney is the epitomy of Mr. Corporate America. He is so Corporate he cant even speak to ordinary americans about the issues they care about, so he now has embraced corporatism, and the elite class. Parry is a different animal. Parry is George WAR Bush on steriods. This republican clown wants us to believe he is a Christian, and a Prophet? Profit is more to the point. The evangelicals in this country and I urge you to look up “the Army of God”, are a fierce, christian crusader bunch of wild eyed crazies, who have studied the old testament while throwing out Christ and his message in the New Testament. These nutbags want to change the consitution, from a country that embraces all races, all religions, all classes, all culture into a christian only nation. The founders must be rolling over in their graves.

Any working or middle class person and that 98% of us, who votes for any republican are voting against themselves, their family and their future. I dont agree with everything Obama has done (especially foreign policy), but he still is the brightest bulb in the box, and he will bring that change he talked about in his campaign to our country when he is re-elected in 2012. If he doesnt bring those changes, 2016 will be anyones game.

Philip Elenko

Sep. 1, 2011, 5:55 p.m.

I would like to see a list of the differences and similarities on such topics as evolution, abortion, separation of Church and State, domestic and foreign economic policy, intervention into other countries, medicare, between Mr. Romney and Mr. Huntsman.

James B Storer

Sep. 3, 2011, 1:10 p.m.

I believe we have four well known committed Republican candidates (Bachman, Paul, Perry, and Romney).  There are several known names (Palin for instance) and a number of not so well known who will commit later, so it is much too early to begin seriously choosing our choice by comparison.  It is not too early to begin to study individuals for acceptability as president.
Personally, I do not accept Bachman or Perry as acceptable candidates, and probably not Paul or Romney.  However, Republican candidates for any office are, I feel, too much influenced by corporate pressures to even think about getting my vote.
Several of the comments submitted above are excellent and furnish much good information.  Several of them also stress the need for us to dig into candidate records ourselves, and not to rely solely on media reporting or candidate web sites.
Skartishu, Granby MO

“Democracy is not a spectator sport”. It is imperative we research these candidates. As Olberman said, ” they all act like….we cant see them”. The tapes speak volumes. Hundreds of reporters are in Texas looking into Parry, and from what I read its not a pretty story. If you think Clinton was a bit of a hounddog…wait till the reports come out on Mr. God Lovin, Bible Thumpin Parry.

This article is part of an ongoing investigation:
Buying Your Vote

Buying Your Vote: Dark Money and Big Data

ProPublica is following the money and exploring campaign issues in the 2012 election you won't read about elsewhere.

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