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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

It's A Free Blog

Opinion: Debate Report Card - Paul Flops, Bachmann Attacks, Perry as Tebow?

Friday, December 16, 2011

Ron Paul was clearly a loser in this debate. He got into an unnecessary argument over U.S. foreign policy towards Iran, nuclear weapons, and reinforced his support for a neo-isolationist foreign policy.

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The Takeaway

A Review of the Iowa Republican Debate

Friday, December 16, 2011

Republican presidential candidates held their final debate last night in Sioux City just weeks before the Iowa caucus takes place on January 3. In the Fox News debate candidates attempted to draw distinctions from one another and defend their record to conservative voters. The latest New York Times/CBS News poll shows Newt Gingrich gaining ground on consistent front runner Mitt Romney. But some voters are still undecided.

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It's A Free Blog

Opinion: Tonight's Debate is Ron Paul's Moment

Thursday, December 15, 2011

If voters can briefly look past Bachmann's inexperience, Perry's ineptitude and Gingrich's infidelities, why not give Paul a second glance?

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Opinion: Romney, Gingrich and the French Connection

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

After months - if not years - of anti-intellectual, willfully isolationist, science-skeptical positioning, they've found themselves with two front-runners who are just a little too worldly.

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Transportation Nation

Mitt Romney: Metro-Friendly Moderate?

Monday, December 12, 2011

Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney on December 6, 2011 in Paradise Valley, AZ. Photo by Gage Skidmore.


Pop quiz: What national political figure, as one of his first acts as chief executive, created a new agency tasked with coordinating housing, transportation, and energy policy in the pursuit of “smart-growth” development? Hint: in his four years as leader, this politician championed a fix-it-first infrastructure strategy and awarded taxpayer-funded grants to communities dedicated to sustainability, insisting that, “by targeting development to areas where there is already infrastructure in place, not only can we revitalize our older communities, but we can also curb sprawl as well.”

If you said President Barack Obama, that’s understandable—Obama also believes in fixing existing infrastructure and curbing sprawl, and he also created an agency to bring together housing, transportation, and energy policy—but that's not who we're describing.

The sprawl curber in question was, in fact, one of the the president’s potential challengers, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. In 2003, shortly after taking office, Romney created a state Office of Commonwealth Development, which—like Obama’s Federal Partnership for Sustainable Communities—broke down the silos separating livability issues and made policy out of smart-growth ideas.

The OCD’s criteria (PDF) for public grants read like a new urbanist handbook. Successful projects should “provide transportation choice,” by being “walkable to public transportation,” the guide said. A good plan “reduces dependence on automobiles by providing increased pedestrian and bicycle access.”

But those were the ideas championed by the governor of a fairly liberal northeastern state, not those of a presidential hopeful vying for the nomination of an increasingly conservative party. Recently, Romney has been reminding debate audiences, opponents, and interviewers almost constantly that he doesn’t believe that what was good for Massachusetts is necessarily a prescription for the nation. He’s proud of his record, he says, but his emphasis has changed.

For one, he’s become an energy hawk, calling for the immediate approval of the Keystone oil pipeline. “Oil is obviously one of our most crucial energy resources and the single most important fuel for our transportation needs,” says his online campaign platform (PDF), which calls for increased domestic oil production and an amendment to the Clean Air Act to exclude the regulation of carbon.

This is the same Mitt Romney who in the spring of 2004 unveiled Massachusetts' first Climate Protection Plan (PDF), saying: “The same policies that protect the climate also promote energy efficiency, smart business practices, and improve the environment in which our citizens live and work. For Massachusetts, promoting climate protection in the Commonwealth and throughout our nation also promotes Massachusetts businesses that are at the forefront of the new markets for renewable energy technologies.”

Romney has made the creation of jobs a central pillar of his campaign, but he’s keen to trim the federal payroll—in the transportation sector, among others. In late September Romney opined in the New Hampshire Union Leader (a paper that went on to endorse Newt Gingrich) that “Amtrak is a classic example” of the many “functions that the private sector can perform better than the public sector.”

This conviction may come in part from a transition he witnessed as Governor. Just before Romney took office, Amtrak declined to bid to renew its operations of Boston’s commuter rail system, and a newly formed consortium, the Massachusetts Bay Commuter Railroad Company, took over the nation’s fifth-largest regional rail network in the summer of 2003.

But the deal hardly serves as a success story for privatization. Mass Bay, as it is known, is paid more than $250 million a year to manage the railroad, and the company came under harsh scrutiny recently when it came to light that the MBTA, the public transportation authority that funds that contract, waived millions of dollars in penalties the private company was supposed to have paid for slow service. Despite Mass Bay’s performance issues, the consortium’s contract was extended for two years in January.

Romney played no role in awarding or extending the Mass Bay contract, and he made no moves to privatize city trains and buses operated by the MBTA. Instead, when the T showed signs of fiscal trouble in 2003, Romney signed a law to allow fare hikes. "It was just a slap in the face," Democratic State Representative Gloria L. Fox told the Boston Globe. "It just goes to show that the poor pay more." But Romney stopped short of advocating increases in ticket prices. He ordered an audit of the T’s finances, and suggested strongly that they look for ways to increase ridership and improve service before asking riders to pay more.

Governor Romney took a similarly business-like approach to the state’s highways. In 2004, he signed a reform bill to streamline and consolidate the operations of the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority and the state Highway Department. The move was philosophically similar to recent proposals, by both parties in Washington, to simplify project selection and funding mechanisms in federal transportation.

All in all, Romney remained a metro-friendly moderate during his tenure as Governor. In 2005, mid-term, he unveiled a twenty-year, $31-billion state transportation plan that re-emphasized his “fix-it-first” convictions, directing “seventy-five percent of all new capital spending toward maintaining and improving the Commonwealth’s existing transportation network.” Hailing the “post-Big-Dig world,” Romney’s plan was modally balanced. Twelve billion went to “reconstructing, decongesting and expanding roadways across the Commonwealth, including all major choke points,” while nine billion went to “achieving a state of good repair on the MBTA’s aging assets.”

Will Romney’s smart-growth past be thrown back at him as “right-wing social engineering”? Will his ruminations about a private Amtrak take firmer root? Will he continue his anti-Federal tack and declare transportation the prerogative of the states? It’s hard to know. Perhaps it won’t come up much in the primaries—it hasn’t so far.

But some are betting that Mitt’s a transportation man, deep down. According to an analysis of campaign contributions from the transportation sector this cycle, Romney comes in second among politicians nationwide (including the President), with $485,626 as of press time. The leader, Texas Governor Rick Perry, tops Romney by less than $5,000, and the two are way out in front. House Speaker John Boehner, in third place, has raised less than half the haul of either man.

More candidate analysis: Newt Gingrich: Rail Visionary, Lover of OilRick Perry's Trans-Texas Corridor Problem.

(Special hat tip to blogger Mike Laub whose obsessive catalog of old Romney press releases provided a wealth of information.)

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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The Takeaway

GOP Debate in Des Moines

Monday, December 12, 2011

In Iowa the final sprint for the 2012 Republican presidential candidates has begun, with the state's all-important January 3 caucuses drawing near. On Saturday, all of the major Republican contenders, minus former Utah governor Jon Huntsman, took center stage at Drake University for a Des Moines debate. Surging frontrunner Newt Gingrich found himself fending off attacks from all sides throughout the night, while Mitt Romney may have left the lasting impression by offering Rick Perry a $10,000 bet, mid-debate.

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The Takeaway

Romney Tries to Recoup in New Hampshire

Monday, December 12, 2011

He was Mr. Teflon for a long time but now Mitt Romney, the long-time Republican frontrunner, is getting pummeled in last clutch weeks before primary voting starts. Former house speaker Newt Gingrich has big leads in the early voting states including Iowa, South Carolina and Florida. But New Hampshire, though, the presumed frontrunner for most of the last year still has an edge.

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It's A Free Country ®

Romney Tries to Reassure New Hampshire Voters

Monday, December 12, 2011

After taking a week off to campaign and fundraise elsewhere, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney returned on Sunday to New Hampshire, the only early state where he still holds his lead over former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.

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It's A Free Blog

Opinion: Iowa Debate Report Card - Newt Wins by Not Losing

Sunday, December 11, 2011

GOP Drake University Debate Results – Steffen Schmidt Saturday night's GOP debate in Des Moines, Iowa consolidated Newt Gingrich’s front-runner status. Although targeted by all the contenders and directly attacked by Rick Perry, who lectured the audience that "if you cheat on your wife, you will cheat on your business ...

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The Takeaway

Mitt Romney's $100,000 Computer Purge

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

In his final days of office, then-Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney spent over $100,000 to replace the computers in the governor's mansion and to wipe the hard drives of existing computers. Not just his own, but those of eleven members of his staff. While not illegal the move is considered "unprecedented" and has been criticized by both the left and the right.  

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The Brian Lehrer Show

Liking Newt, Warts and All

Monday, December 05, 2011

Recap from It's a Free Country.

Welcome to Politics Bites, where every afternoon at It's A Free Country, we bring you the unmissable quotes from the morning's political conversations on WNYC. Today on the Brian Lehrer Show, Georgia-based conservative columnist and author of Paranoid Nation: The Real Story of the 2008 Fight for the Presidency, Matt Towery, and contributing editor for Newsweek Magazine, Eleanor Clift, talked about the resurgence of Newt Gingrich's campaign for the Republican presidential nomination.

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The Takeaway

Is Herman Cain's Loss Mitt Romney's Gain?

Monday, December 05, 2011

Herman Cain has suspended — but not completely disbanded — his presidential campaign. Whether he will endorse another candidate or continue fundraising and rejoin the race at some later point remains to be seen. For now, Newt Gingerich holds a majority in Iowa's early polls. But Mitt Romney is leading in New Hampshire and has strong numbers in South Carolina.

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Opinion: What the Cain Train Derailment Means for the GOP Field

Sunday, December 04, 2011

In suspending his campaign Saturday, onetime presidential contender, short flash-in-the-pan, and former Godfather’s Pizza executive Herman Cain thundered, “I’m not going away!” Here's why that might not be such a good thing for the other GOP candidates.

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Opinion: Does Mitt Romney Have a Mormon Problem?

Thursday, December 01, 2011

The burning question of whether Mitt Romney’s faith will be a liability in his quest for the 2012 Presidential nomination is plaguing Iowa pundits as we try to predict the GOP caucus in January.

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Protesters Target Obama at City Fundraiser

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

After an afternoon of events in a blue-collar corner of Pennsylvania, President Barack Obama will be in Manhattan Wednesday evening to court well-heeled supporters at three private fundraisers.

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The Empire

Majority Leader Dean Skelos endorses Mitt Romney for President

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

State Senator Dean Skelos (Matthew Cavanaugh / Getty)

Republican Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney is solidifying his base of support in a major way today. Dean Skelos, the Republican Majority Leader of the State Senate and the highest-ranking member of his party in the state, announced he's endorsed Romney's campaign today, citing the former Massachusetts Governor's 800-plus vetoes and the "conservative principles" Romney brought to state government.

“Of all of the candidates running for President, [Mitt Romney] is the one most uniquely qualified for this moment," the State Senator said in a statement. "Mitt Romney’s policies will translate into more private sector jobs and more opportunities in New York and across the country, and I am proud to endorse him for President."

Skelos is the latest New York Republican politician to throw his support behind the Romney campaign. Yesterday Queens Councilman Eric Ulrich was appointed to run Romney's campaignin New York City.

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Opinion: Huntsman's Failure Shows GOP's Extremism Problem

Saturday, November 26, 2011

It’s only a matter of time before it’s Rick Santorum’s turn.

Why not? Why shouldn’t Rick get his moment at the head of the GOP pack? The merry-go-round of candidates who have shared the top spot alongside Mitt Romney has now stopped on Newt Gingrich, but can’t last for long. ...

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Opinion: The Questions We Should be Asking the GOP Candidates

Friday, November 25, 2011

We are now recovering from gazillionth GOP presidential debate, and there is no end in sight. The ratings show that people are enjoying watching the contenders slug it out, but they can obscure the questions the candidates should be getting grilled about.

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It's A Free Country ®

GOP Book Report: Highlights from the 2012 Campaign Reads

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

What did voters learn about the candidates—their biographies, their politics, their vision for the country—through more than just the news stories and blog posts and 140-character updates?

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Poll: NYers Have Obama Beating Romney, All Republicans by at Least 25 Points

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

A new Siena poll of registered New York voters has Barack Obama beating Republican front-runner Mitt Romney by 25 points, and the president's favorability rating at its highest point since July.

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