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Mitt Romney

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Mitt Romney

Party Affiliation: Republican

Web site: http://www.mittromney.com/

Slogan: Believe in America

The Takeaway

Looking Ahead to the New Hampshire Primary

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Now that Iowa’s critical caucus is over, attention turns to the nation’s first primary. A predominately Republican state, New Hampshire primary has held many surprises in the past, such as John McCain's overwhelming victory over George W. Bush in 2000. Former Utah Governor John Hunstman has almost solely focused on New Hampshire over the past months, and spent Tuesday evening campaigning in the New England state instead of Iowa.

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The Takeaway

Flash Forward: Politics in 2012

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

The first caucus results are in, heralding the official start of the long slog toward November's big election. Although politicians always bill the election they are involved in as being a critical moment for the nation, this time it is true. At issue in the next election will be what role the federal government plays in the lives of individual Americans. President Obama and the GOP candidates have outlined starkly different views of the social contract in the United States. The potential to shape economic growth, tax policy for the government and common person, and how wealth is distributed will shape fiscal policy for the next decade.

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The Takeaway

Romney Wins Iowa By 8 Votes

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney edged out former Senator Rick Santorum by just eight votes in Tuesday night's Iowa caucuses. After spending most of the night locked in a dead heat with Santorum and Rep. Ron Paul, Romney was declared the winner early Wednesday morning with 24.6 percent of the vote. Paul finished in third place, followed by Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry, and Michele Bachmann. Perry announced he would suspend his campaign to return to Texas.

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It's A Free Blog

Opinion: For the Back of the Pack, it's Decision Day

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

While many focus on who the winner of the Iowa Caucus will be later this evening, the true question to be answered is whether certain candidates ranking near the bottom in the minds of voters will get the message that their best course of action is to drop out.

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It's A Free Country ®

After Bachmann, A Look at the When and Why to Call it Quits

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Following her sixth place finish in the Iowa Caucuses last night, in which she only got five percent of the vote, Michele Bachmann announced this morning that she's ending her campaign for president.

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It's A Free Blog

Opinion: What To Expect Out Of Iowa

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Opening day rarely decides the baseball season. Opening night isn't the entire run of a Broadway show. But these first public moments do help shape the next steps.

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Transportation Nation

Romney: I'd Stop Funding Amtrak, and Have Big Bird With Ads

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Mitt Romney Addressing Iowa Voters (photo: Romney campaign)

In his final rally before caucus day, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney took time to say he'd cut Amtrak.

"Amtrak ought to stand on its own feet or its own wheels or whatever you'd say," Romney told a raucous crowd of several hundred at the Competitive Edge warehouse in Clive, Iowa, on Monday night.

This final speech is part of what's called a candidate's "closing arguments" to voters.

"I've got to balance the budget.  I gotta cut spending," said Romney, sounding about as folksy and riled up as he's ever been, as he heads to the caucuses in what looks like a no-lose situation:  he either wins, or Rick Santorum or Ron Paul wins, which mean Romney wins, because neither Paul or Santorum is expected to do well beyond Iowa.

Amtrak has had its highest ridership ever, but at the same time, it's been a favorite political punching bag for Republicans. (Though House Transportation and Infrastructure Chair John Mica recently had a change of heart, sort of.)  The federal government's annual subsidy is about $1.4 billion. The federal budget is about $3.5 trillion.

"I like the fact that my grand kids can watch Big Bird on TV," Romney added. "I think that’s wonderful, but because they don’t have advertising the government has to put in a check and I don’t think that’s right. So we’re going to have Big Bird with advertising probably because I don’t want to borrow money from China!"

(Special thanks to Anna Sale of Itsafreecountry.org for sending us the tape)

Listen to the relevant portion of his speech below.

Here's a transcript:

Now I’ve also got the balance the budget, I gotta cut spending, I gotta cap federal spending and then I’ve got to balance the budget now how do you go about doing that? let me tell you how I do that (unintelligible interjection)…My view is this: what you do to get our budget in line is you say this: you take all of the programs the federal government has and you say which of these programs is so critical that we gotta have it? And those things we keep but those programs that don’t pass the following test we got to get rid of.

And this is my test: is this program so critical it’s worth borrowing money from china to pay for it?

Yells NO

And on that basis we’re going to get rid of some programs, even some we like.

Now the easy ones we can get rid of, like  this one, this one I’ll get rid of on day one

Let’s get rid of Obama care, I’ll get rid of that right away.

(applause)

And there are some other things, look Amtrak ought to stand on its own feet or its own wheels or whatever you’d say. And I like the National Endowment for the Arts. And the National Endowment for the Humanities,  but I’m not willing to borrow money from China to pay for it.

I like the fact that my grandkids can watch Big Bird on TV.  I think that’s wonderful, but because they don’t have advertising the government has to put in a check and I don’t think that’s right. So we’re going to have Big Bird with advertising probably because I don’t want to borrow money from China!

(applause)

 

You guys, I just don’t think it’s moral for us as a nation to borrow money knowing that my generation will never pay it pack, and the next generation will have to pay those burdens.  It’s wrong.  We have to live within our means, and finally get America on track to a balanced budget and I will do it!

 

(applause)

 

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It's A Free Country ®

Track: Iowa Caucus Returns

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

The map on this page shows not only who’s winning in each of the state’s 99 counties, but, using Patchwork Nation, it shows how the candidates are doing in each of Iowa’s eight types of county – from the wealthy Monied Burbs to the rural agricultural Tractor Country counties. It will fill in with data as the results from the caucuses come in.

 

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It's A Free Country ®

The Final Pitch in Iowa, by Air and on the Ground

Monday, January 02, 2012

For Republican hopefuls, it's the final full day of campaigning in Iowa. And at least in the television ads the candidates are putting their names and faces to, it's all positive in their final pitches.

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The Takeaway

GOP Makes Final Push in Iowa

Monday, January 02, 2012

The Republican presidential hopefuls spent their New Year's weekend trying to differentiate themselves from each other and convince Iowans to caucus for them on Tuesday. Front-runner Mitt Romney tried to fend off a new challenge from Rick Santorum, who has surged in recent days to the top of the polls. Ron Paul, who spent his New Year at home in Texas, also stands to make a strong showing in Tuesday's caucuses. The Democratic Party has stepped up efforts in Iowa as well, targeting Romney for his record of laying off workers while CEO of private equity firm Bain Capital.

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It's A Free Blog

Opinion: An Obama-Clinton Ticket? Won't Happen - But These Things Might

Friday, December 30, 2011

Obama and Clinton work well together, and it would reinvigorate a certain type of Democratic voter who had been skeptical ever since Obama took the primary prize in '08.  But it creates as many problems for the President as it solves.

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It's A Free Blog

Opinion: Iowa DOES Represent the Country, Thank You Very Much!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Where else could Barack Obama have gotten his start except by winning the Iowa Caucuses and where else could Pat Robertson been given a chance to even try for the toughest job in the nation? Nowhere, I say!

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The Takeaway

The Art of the Political Flip-Flop

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Newt Gingrich was for health care mandates before he was against them. Rick Perry was for allowing abortions in cases of rape and incest before he was not. And Mitt Romney has changed his positions on climate change, health care, abortion, and gay rights, just to name a few. In 2004, the caricature of John Kerry as a "flip-flopper" partly cost him the presidential election. Although flip-flopping is almost universally portrayed as negative, these changes of heart sometimes reveal an evolution of ideals and maturity. "When the facts change, I change my mind," John Maynard Keyes once said. "What do you do, sir?"

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It's A Free Blog

Opinion: Will the GOP's Standard on Faith Trip up Romney?

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

There are many of us who don't care about a candidate's faith at all and are uncomfortable basing our views of a candidate on his involvement with his church.

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It's A Free Blog

Opinion: Be Thankful for Iowa

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Politics is a professional sport here, and nothing is more important than the presidential caucuses. We have saved the rest of you Americans the horrible job of winnowing the field of GOP Presidential candidates.

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Transportation Nation

Romney: We Have to Invest In Infrastructure (VIDEO)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Mitt Romney with South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley (photo: Romney campaign)

Four years ago, before the bi-partisan consensus on infrastructure spending had frayed, it might not have been remarkable to hear a Republican candidate for President say he -- or she -- believed in infrastructure spending, even if that meant borrowing. But in a year where Republican governors from Florida to New Jersey pulled the plug on big, already-in-the works projects, maybe it is.

"We're going to have to make an investment in our infrastructure and that's a place where if we make that investment, it will pay a return," Romney told a town hall meeting in Charleston, South Carolina December 17, expanding on remarks he made in New Hampshire last week.

And by infrastructure Romney took a broad view -- including roads, bridges, rail, ports, and air travel.

He also gave a little window into his economic theory.

"For instance, with regards to ports, as ports are dredged and made deep water ports and made more competitive they are then able to have more produce come in to them, more products come in to them and can charge therefore on the product coming in and can pay back the cost of the dredging or improvement," he said.

Here's a video posted by Building America's Future, a group that supports more spending on infrastructure. Full transcript of the exchange below.

Here's the transcript:

Question: What is your vision for improving our infrastructure system?

Romney: We got infrastructure issues in our ports, on our rail yards, on our aircraft systems, in our highways in particular.

I came in as governor of my state and my transportation people said that we had 550 structurally deficient bridges in my state. Five hundred and fifty. And we were spending $100 million a year on bridge repairs -- I doubled that to $200 million a year.

Now, that means I had to cut some other things to make sure we were able to put priority behind getting our bridges up to speed. We're going to have to make an investment in our infrastructure and that's a place where if we make that investment, it will pay a return. I don't mind borrowing if something has a revenue stream that will pay back the borrowing.

What I don't like is what we see in Washington where we borrow for just everyday expenses with no new revenue stream to pay it back.

But for instance with regards to ports, as ports are dredged and made deep water ports and made more competitive they are then able to have more produce come in to them, more products come in to them and can charge therefore on the product coming in and can pay back the cost of the dredging or improvement.

That's what's going to have to happen on our ports, on our highways, in our aircraft system.

We're going to have to make the investment to upgrade our infrastructure to make it competitive globally but also so our enterprises can be successful in moving products around. Then we can be competitive sending products around the world.

I recognize that America has to compete and for us to compete to have good jobs we have need to have good infrastructure and I'll stand behind --

By the way, the decision as to which ports to dredge and which rail lines to improve and which highways to get upgraded that's a decision to be made on analysis of need, a potential for return and opportunity not based upon politics.

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Transportation Nation

Newt Gingrich: Rail Visionary, Lover of Oil

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Former speaker Newt Gingrich. Photo by Gage Skidmore from Flickr.

It’s hard to know for sure how former House Speaker New Gingrich might handle transportation as President. Of his Republican rivals who’ve been governor you can easily paint portraits of the metro-friendly moderate or the big-thinking privatizer. But Gingrich has never overseen a department of transportation, never appointed a transportation commissioner, never signed off on (or killed) a major project.

His Congressional record isn't terribly helpful. In the House, Gingrich didn’t seem focused on mobility issues. An analysis of his track record on Project Votesmart reveals that Gingrich did not cast a vote on many of the key transportation bills in the 1990s, including the 1998 TEA-21 reauthorization bill, which succeeded by a large margin. Newt’s famous Contract with America didn’t deal with bridges or trains or roads (the “Taking Back our Streets Act” dealt with crime) and the summary of legislative proposals that make up his newer-fangled "21st Century Contract with America" never mentions “transportation” or “infrastructure” (aside from military infrastructure).

So all we have is his rhetoric. And in that, Gingrich has had his bold moments, though. In 2007, in the months following the publication of his book A Contract with the Earth, when he was filming public service announcements with Nancy Pelosi, Gingrich was talking up “common sense environmentalism” and a green jobs revolution, dreaming of a “Hydrogen car, or a car that would get 1,000 miles to a gallon of petroleum.” He suggested offering cash prizes of a tax-free billion dollars to attract “lots of inventors other than auto companies in Detroit.” He beamed thinking about a composite materials car made in America, or a hydrogen engine made in America.

“If you look at the amount we spent to maintain military capability in the Persian Gulf,” he said, “if you had spent the same amount to create a revolution in energy, we’d almost certainly be deeply into a hydrogen economy by now.”

Gingrich has consistently been in favor of private companies doing technologically cool things for the health of America (and for profit). In his book, Real Change, he included a chapter endorsing improved rail and more modernized airports. “As the leading economy in the world,” he wrote, “America should have the best air and rail transportation in the world, but we don’t.”

Why not? Because of unions, Gingrich believes. “Unfortunately, the air traffic controller union understands that a twenty-first-century space-based air traffic control system would reduce the importance and number of air traffic controllers.” And the three reasons America hasn’t seen the kind of high-speed rail investment one saw in France, Japan, and China? “Union work rules make it impossible,” for one, Gingrich writes. For another, "regulations and litigation involved in large-scale construction...has become time consuming and expensive.” And third: “pork barrel politicians waste money subsidizing absurdly uneconomic routes.”

Gingrich identified the three corridors he believed were “very conducive to this kind of high-speed train investment,” and they may sound familiar: a system between Boston and Washington, from San Diego to San Francisco, and from Miami to Tampa, Orlando, and Jacksonville.

“I support—and I’m confident that most Americans support—a twenty-first-century rail system that is privately built, run efficiently, and capable of earning its own way,” Gingrich wrote, allowing that this “might even require an initial program of tax incentives or other help (just as the transcontinental railroad did). But it just makes sense that we the people of the United States should have a railroad system that works for us, and not for the Amtrak bureaucracy and their unions.” For non-high-speed corridors, he suggested turning the rail lines over to the states.

In 2009, Gingrich held forth with his former colleague Dick Gephardt at an event sponsored by Building America's Future and the National Governors Association (video via Streetsblog). He spoke in favor of user fees over taxes, and privatization over government bureaucracies, but agreed with BAF co-founder (and former Democratic governor of Pennsylvania) Ed Rendell that America needed a capital budget. "No American thinks they buy houses on annual appropriations," he said. He asserted that the American public understood capital investment, that we were being held back by an unimaginative government, and that we needed a program of "very large megaprojects that arouse the nation" -- specifically faster rail lines.

But as Matt Yglesias noted in May of this year, within 24 hours of announcing his candidacy, Gingrich went on the radio to defend oil companies, railing against the “anti-energy, anti-American” ideas of the far left, who “don’t understand how the real world works.”

“Liberals don’t like us liking bigger vehicles, so they want to find a way to punish us economically,” Gingrich said, accusing Obama of schadenfreude over higher gas prices. “Hit our pocketbook, make us change, because they’d like all of us to live in big cities in high rises, taking mass transit.”

One might perceive in Newt’s pro-oil posture a bit of political practicality. When selling books and not soliciting votes, he’s shown a greater imagination for an America that lives and works differently. Sometimes his imagination has run rather wild, as when he became enamored with the idea of giant space mirrors that could distribute sunlight to prevent darkness, lower crime, prevent frosts in agricultural areas -- and light the interstate highways.

Those in the transportation business seem to be likewise unsure of where Gingrich’s heart lies. Open Secrets shows that Newt has raised a paltry $19,450 from identifiable transportation-sector contributors this year. That’s just 4% of the $485,000 Romney has raised from the industry, a quarter of the haul won by Ron Paul, and $2,000 less than Rick Santorum received.

More candidate analysis: Mitt Romney: Metro-Friendly Moderate?, Rick Perry's Trans-Texas Corridor Problem.

Matt Dellinger is the author of the book Interstate 69: The Unfinished History of the Last Great American Highway. You can follow him on Twitter.

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It's A Free Country ®

Romney on Immigration: Hardliner, Not Flip-Flopper

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney has been accused of flip-flopping on issues, chief among them immigration. But has his stance on immigration really shifted that much?

Finger-pointers wonder how Romney has the chutzpah to accuse Gingrich of being soft on immigration, claiming the former Speaker was opening “a new doorway ...

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It's A Free Blog

Opinion: Don't Be Surprised When Ron Paul Wins Iowa

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Ron Paul has drawn huge and passionate crowds, which the media could not report because Paul was not one of the “viable” front-runners who could get the nomination.

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Transportation Nation

Even in Austere Era, Mitt Romney Promises To Fund Roads, Bridges, and Rail (FULL AUDIO)

Friday, December 16, 2011

Mitt Romney in Hudson, New Hampshire (photo: WNYC/Anna Sale)

Mitt Romney says he doesn't like borrowing, but he'd do it for infrastructure. Speaking at a town hall meeting in Hudson, New Hampshire this week, Romney said: "You have to prioritize those things which are most important to you and infrastructure and having good roads and bridges and rail lines and air traffic lines and so forth are essential for a strong economy. I’m willing to invest in those things and even borrow in circumstances where there’s going to be a revenue stream that pays it back."  (Full transcript at end of post.)

Answering a question from voter "Ken from Nashua," the former Massachusetts Governor touted his record doubling spending in that state for bridge repair from $100 million a year to $200 million a year.

"I don't like borrowing, if it's just paying every day's expenses and then kicking on the borrowing to our kids. But if I'm willing to pay it back with a particular stream of revenue, why, that's something I'll do."

Romney mentioned tolls as one possible revenue stream. "I know that's not real popular but it's more popular than a sales tax or an income tax."

The remarks are consistent with the portrait Matt Dellinger drew of Romney earlier this week, in his piece: Mitt Romney: Metro-Friendly Moderate?

Huge thanks to reporter Anna Sale of our sister site, It'sAFreeCountry.org, for passing along the tape.

You can listen to the full remarks here:

Ken from Nashua: Through my work, I travel the U.S. roads highways and bridges and they are definitely in need of attention. However, the country has staggering debt and we need to reduce spending and make that a major priority.

As president, if you are faced with fixing a problem by spending on one hand and spending reduction on the other, how will you address our nation’s infrastructure?

Romney: Well let’s look at the highway setting to begin with. I’ll tell you what we did. When I came in as the governor of my state, I found out that we had 550 structurally deficient bridges in Massachusetts.  If any of you drive down there, I’ll give you a list.

The good news is they weren’t’ ready to fall down but I knew that at some point the bridges would have a load limit changed where trucks with a heavy load limit wouldn’t be able to go over them and that would affect our commerce and could affect jobs.

And so I said look we got to go from spending what we had been spending, $100 million a year on bridge repair and move it to $200 million a year.

One of the things you have to do is prioritize those things which are most important to you and infrastructure and having good roads and bridges and rail lines and so forth and air traffic lines are essential for a strong economy. I’m willing to invest in those things and even borrow in circumstances where there’s going to be a revenue stream that pays it back

I don’t like borrowing, if its just paying every day expenses and then kicking on the borrowing to our kids here but if I’m willing to pay back with a particular stream of revenue why, that’s something I’ll do.

Here in New Hampshire you have tolls and I know that’s not real popular -- but more popular than a sales tax than an income taxi and so you have a dedicated stream of revenue, and so the state is able to build a highway or to repair bridges and the revenue stream you have pays it back

With regards to the the federal highway system we’re going to have to follow the same model.

We’re going to have to make an investment, to repair our bridges, repair our roads and have a specific dedicated revenue stream paying back those costs.

We can’t have a highway system that makes it almost impossible for our commerce to occur on an effective basis.   There are lots of idea about how to do that -- do we have a bonding program of some kind that pays back, do we use tolls do we use some other method? I will be open to the kinds of ideas that come forward. But I believe we do have to invest in our basic infrastructure.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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