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Bridge Briefs

News Wednesday, Oct 3 2012

American Bridge's Questions For Mitt Romney

This year, American Bridge was hoping we’d get the call to host one of the presidential debates. Unfortunately, though admittedly unsurprisingly, that wasn’t the case. While we’re still holding out hope that Candy Crowley will use our best “this or that” submission, these are the questions we would have asked Mitt Wednesday night. (And be sure to click through to our Bridge Briefs to see the answers Mitt wouldn’t have given.) 1) Studies indicate your plan to block grant Medicaid would result in 14-27 million people losing health care insurance, half of them children. Do you think the American people would prefer health care for children or tax cuts for millionaires? 2) What did you mean when you said immigrants come here “looking for a free deal?” Would you veto legislation that offers a path to citizenship for individuals brought here as children and who have proven their commitment to American ideals by completing college or serving in the US military? 3) What did you mean when you said you were open to private sector competition in veterans’ health care? 4) Why would a Romney presidency be different than a Romney governorship, when Massachusetts lagged behind other states in job creation, ranking 47th out of 50? 5) As governor, why did you veto funding for breast and cervical cancer treatment and prevention? 6) Twice in the last 15 years - when the tech bubble burst and the recent Wall Street crisis - many people lost everything they had in the stock market. Do you still support private accounts for Social Security that would subject people’s savings to those fluctuations, and what would you propose so that people who did lose everything didn’t starve? 7) What specific tax breaks and loopholes would you eliminate to make your tax cuts for the wealthy revenue-neutral, and would these be applied to middle- and working-class families? See more questions after the jump.

News Tuesday, Oct 2 2012

BRIDGE BRIEFING: Romney And LGBT Issues

Romney Promised Not To Fight Against Same Sex Marriage But Did Anyway

In 2002, Romney Told Log Cabin Republicans He Would Not “Champion” A Fight Against The Massachusetts Ruling On Same Sex Marriage. According to the New York Times, “Mitt Romney seemed comfortable as a group of gay Republicans quizzed him over breakfast one morning in 2002. Running for governor of Massachusetts, he was at a gay bar in Boston to court members of Log Cabin Republicans. Mr. Romney explained to the group that his perspective on gay rights had been largely shaped by his experience in the private sector, where, he said, discrimination was frowned upon. When the discussion turned to a court case on same-sex marriage that was then wending its way through the state’s judicial system, he said he believed that marriage should be limited to the union of a man and a woman. But, according to several people present, he promised to obey the courts’ ultimate ruling and not champion a fight on either side of the issue. ‘I’ll keep my head low,’ he said, making a bobbing motion with his head like a boxer, one participant recalled.” [New York Times, 9/8/07]
  • Romney’s Deputy Political Director Confirmed Romney Promised Log Cabin Republicans He Would Not Champion A Fight Against Same Sex Marriage. According to the New York Times, “Calling Mr. Romney a flip-flopper on gay rights would be overly simplistic, Mr. Spampinato said. But he conceded that his old boss had promised the Log Cabin members that he would not champion a fight against same-sex marriage. ‘It’s definitely a shift in political priorities and strategy,’ he said.[New York Times, 9/8/07]
In 2003, Romney Sought Constitutional Amendment In Massachusetts Preserving Marriage Between A Man And A Woman. According to Voice of America News, “Mitt Romney, who in an interview with NBC television announced he would be seeking a state constitutional amendment that would effectively bar homosexuals from marrying one another… ‘I think the people of Massachusetts will take necessary corrective action to assure [sic] that the institution of marriage is preserved between a male and a female. Of course, at the same time, reaching out to gay couples, providing necessary civil rights and certain appropriate benefits. But marriage is an institution between a man and a woman.’” [Voice of America News, 12/18/03]

News Tuesday, Oct 2 2012

BRIDGE BRIEFING: Mitt Romney On Osama bin Laden

Romney Said It Was “Not Worth Moving Heaven And Earth” To Capture Osama Bin Laden Because America Would See An “Insignificant” Increase In Safety After His Capture. In an interview with Liz Sidoti of The Associated Press, Romney said, “the country would be safer by only ‘a small percentage’ and would see ‘a very insignificant increase in safety’ if al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden was caught because another terrorist would rise to power. ‘It’s not worth moving heaven and earth spending billions of dollars just trying to catch one person,’ Romney said. Instead, he said he supports a broader strategy to defeat the Islamic jihad movement.” [The Associated Press, 4/26/07] Romney Attacked Obama For Promising Unilateral Action Against Al Qaeda Targets in Pakistan. Accoridng to Retuers, “Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney criticized Democrat Barack Obama on Friday for vowing to strike al Qaeda targets inside Pakistan if necessary as the Obama camp issued a strident defense of his plan. What had been an internecine foreign policy battle between rival Democrats Obama, an Illinois senator, and New York Sen. Hillary Clinton, spilled into the Republican arena in the heavily contested state of Iowa. ‘I do not concur in the words of Barack Obama in a plan to enter an ally of ours... I don’t think those kinds of comments help in this effort to draw more friends to our effort,’ Romney told reporters on the campaign trail. Obama on Wednesday said if elected president in November 2008 he would be willing to launch military strikes against al Qaeda targets inside Pakistan with or without the approval of the Pakistani government of President Pervez Musharraf. ‘If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and President Musharraf won’t act, we will,’ Obama said.” [Reuters, 8/4/07] Romney Said Using U.S. Troops In Pakistan Was Not “Civilized.” According to the Associated Press, “Romney spoke at a luncheon meeting of young Republicans in Des Moines and later with reporters who asked for his reaction to Obama’s comments. In a speech this week, the senator from Illinois issued a warning to Pakistani leaders that if they didn’t do a better job of rooting out terrorists who use that country as a sanctuary, the U.S. might intervene with force. Instead of issuing threats, the U.S. should work with nations to root out extremist forces which may exist, Romney said. ‘We want as a civilized world to participate with other nations in this civilized effort to help those nations reject the extreme within them,’ Romney said. ‘That doesn’t mean that our troops are going to go all over the world.’” [Associated Press, 8/3/07]

News Tuesday, Oct 2 2012

BRIDGE BRIEFING: The Truth About Mitt Romney's Defense Cuts Claim

Mitt Romney Wrote That One Of The Agendas For A Free And Strong America Was To “Add At Least 100,000 Troops To Our Ground Forces…” In his book “No Apology” Mitt Romney wrote that one of the agendas for a free and strong America was to “Add at least 100,000 troops to our ground forces; provide top quality care and benefits to our veterans.” [“No Apology” 2011 Pg. 320] Mitt Romney Wrote That One Of The Agendas For A Free And Strong America Was To “Return Our Navy And Air Force To The Levels Needed To Meet Their Respective Missions.” In his book “No Apology” Mitt Romney wrote that one of the agendas for a free and strong America was to “Return our navy and air force to the levels needed to meet their respective missions.” [“No Apology” 2011 Pg. 320] In 2007, Romney Ran A Campaign Ad Promising To Increase The Military By 100,000. According to First Read, the TV ad ran in Iowa and Romney said, “It’s this century’s nightmare, Jihadism - violent, radical Islamic fundamentalism. Their goal is to unite the world under a single Jihadist caliphate. To do that, they must collapse freedom-loving nations like us. As President, I’ll strengthen our intelligence services. Increase our military by at least 100,000. And monitor the calls Al-Qaeda makes into America. And we can and will stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.” [First Read, 10/12/07] In 2007 Romney Wrote That He Supports Increasing The Military By 100,000 Troops. Romney wrote, “First, we need to increase our investment in national defense. This means adding at least 100,000 troops and making a long-overdue investment in equipment, armament, weapons systems, and strategic defense.” [Foreign Affairs, July/August 2007]

News Tuesday, Oct 2 2012

BRIDGE BRIEFING: The Truth About Massachusetts's Bond Rating Increase

Romney Increased Massachusetts’s Bond Rating Through “Tax Increases And The Closing Of Tax Loopholes.” According to the Wall Street Journal, “Former Gov. Mitt Romney boasted this week that when he led Massachusetts, he presided over an increase in the state’s bond rating, a contrast to President Barack Obama, who saw Standard & Poor’s downgrade U.S. debt. But Mr. Romney had an advantage that Mr. Obama sorely wanted but could not get from Congress: tax increases and the closing of tax ‘loopholes.’ Documents obtained by The Wall Street Journal Wednesday through the Freedom of Information Act show the Romney administration’s pitch to S&P in late 2004 included the boast that ‘The Commonwealth acted decisively to address the fiscal crisis’ that ensued after the terrorist attacks of 2001. Bulleted PowerPoint slides laid out the actions taken, including legislation in July 2002 to increase tax revenue by $1.1 billion to $1.2 billion in fiscal 2003 and $1.5 billion to $1.6 billion in fiscal 2004; tax ‘loophole’ legislation that added $269 million in ‘additional recurring revenue,’ and tax amnesty legislation that added $174 million. The final bullet: ‘FY04 budget increased fees to raise $271 million yearly.’” [The Wall Street Journal, 8/10/11]

News Tuesday, Oct 2 2012

BRIDGE BRIEFING: Romney And Social Security

Romney Said That Social Security Must Be Reformed By Gradually Raising The Retirement Age And By Using Progressive Indexing. According to the Concord Monitor, “But he said Social Security must be reformed for future recipients who are in their early 50s and younger. Romney offered two ideas: gradually raising the qualifying retirement age and using progressive indexing, which slows the increase in benefit levels for high earners by tying the increase to the price index, rather than the quicker-growing wage index now in use.” [The Concord Monitor, 8/16/11] Romney Proposed Gradually Raising Retirement Age Based On “Increases In Longevity.” According to Romney’s Plan to Turn Around the Federal Government, “Gradually raise the retirement age to reflect increases in longevity.” [Romney’s Plan to Turn Around the Federal Government, 11/4/11]

News Tuesday, Oct 2 2012

BRIDGE BRIEFING: Romney And Medicare

Wall Street Journal: Romney’s Proposal Would Privatize Medicare. According to the Wall Street Journal, “Mitt Romney waded into the hot-button issue of Medicare, proposing to offer future seniors a choice between the current fee-for-service health plan or a voucher to purchase health insurance plans offered by private insurance companies. The Romney Medicare plan could become a hallmark of the 2012 presidential campaign should he win the Republican nomination. Democrats had already planned to make the Ryan plan a centerpiece of their efforts to unseat Republicans in Congress. Now, Mr. Romney has thrust Medicare privatization into the presidential race.” [Wall Street Journal, 11/4/11] Associated Press: Romney’s Plan Would “Fundamentally Re-Shape Medicare.” According to the Associated Press, “Mitt Romney on Friday unveiled a plan to fundamentally re-shape Medicare, tackling one of the 2012 presidential contest’s most delicate issues before a skeptical crowd of tea party activists. To cut costs, the Republican presidential hopeful and former Massachusetts governor would introduce vouchers, or ‘premium supports,’ to future recipients of the popular health insurance program for the elderly.” [Associated Press, 11/4/11] Kaiser Health News: Romney’s Medicare Plan “Would Fundamentally Change The Nature Of The Popular Program” According to Kaiser Health News, “Mitt Romney’s plan to overhaul Medicare follows a familiar Republican prescription: Use the power of the marketplace to bring down costs and improve care. Yet, such a move would fundamentally change the nature of the popular program, and treads close to a proposal that Republicans were heavily criticized for earlier this year.” [Kaiser Health News, 11/8/11]

News Tuesday, Oct 2 2012

BRIDGE BRIEFING: Romney’s Medicaid Block Grants Would Hurt Children

Romney Wanted To Block-Grant Medicaid

Romney And Ryan Would Block Grant Medicaid In An Effort To Cut Federal Spending. According to The Huffington Post, “About 30 million children, or one-third of America’s kids, get their health care from Medicaid, a program that serves the poor. Under plans to dramatically cut federal funding backed by Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and his running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.), that number would have to shrink. Romney and Ryan both support transforming Medicaid from an entitlement with an open-ended budget and a guarantee of coverage into a ‘block grant’ program that would provide states a set amount of money to spend on health care services for the needy each year. But it’s not just about giving states more flexibility: It’s about slashing $810 billion in federal spending on a vital component of the safety net -- without a plan for making up the difference.” [The Huffington Post, 8/22/12] Romney Wanted To Convert Medicaid To A Block Grant Administered By The States. According to Forbes, Avik Roy wrote an op-ed noting that Romney’s economic plan “…spends a bit more time on Medicaid reform—by which I mean a lengthy paragraph—promising that, ‘as president, Romney will push for the conversion of Medicaid to a block grant administered by the states. This approach could save the federal government over $200 billion each year by the end of the decade, while also providing states with the flexibility to develop innovative and effective approaches best suited to their needs.’” [Forbes, 9/7/11]

News Tuesday, Oct 2 2012

BRIDGE BRIEFING: Romney And Labor

Romney Vetoed Bill To Increase The Minimum Wage 2006: Romney Vetoed A Minimum Wage Bill Despite Campaign Pledge To Increase…

News Tuesday, Oct 2 2012

BRIDGE BRIEFING: Romney Says He Opposes The Government Picking Winner And Losers, But That’s The Same Approach He Took In Massachusetts

Romney Claims He Opposes Government Giving Financial Support To Specific Enterprises

Romney Said Instead Of “Picking Winners And Losers With Taxpayer Dollars” Entrepreneurs Would Get Fair Shot And All Businesses Would Play By The Same Rules. According to Romney For President, during a speech before the Newspaper Association, Romney said “Seven months ago, I presented a detailed plan for jobs and economic growth, including 59 different proposals that would help strengthen the economy.  I understand some people are amused that I have so many ideas. But I think the American people will prefer it to President Obama’s grand total of zero. I will cut marginal tax rates across the board for individuals and corporations, and limit deductions and exclusions.  I will repeal burdensome regulations, and prevent the bureaucracy from writing new ones.  I will unleash our domestic energy resources so that we can finally get the energy we need at a price we can afford. Instead of picking winners and losers with taxpayer dollars, I will make sure that every entrepreneur gets a fair shot and that every business plays by the same rules. I will create an environment where our businesses and workers can compete and win.  I will welcome the best and the brightest to our shores, and ensure that we have labor and training policies that help American workers to be more competitive.” [Romney For President, 4/4/12] Romney Called The Government’s “Choosing Winners And Losers” Among Companies A Terrible Ideas. In an interview with Brian Kilmeade, Romney said, “The idea that the federal government can become a venture capital institution, choosing winners and losers among various companies is a terrible idea, and that’s been proven time and time again. Look, the right course for the federal government as it relates to research and development is in basic science. Programs like NASA develop technologies that ultimately can be commercialized. But for the government to say ‘oh, we think the world should make this kind of car’ or ‘that kind of solar panel’, that’s almost certain to fail. Now and then there will be a winner, but overwhelmingly they’re going to be losers. Let the private market work. Government does not know better than free people and free enterprise, how to grow an economy.” [Kilmeade and Friends, 9/16/11]

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