Mitt Romney

Mitt Romney Candidate Profile


Reason has profiled the major Republican presidential hopefuls and devised a scientific* survey to help readers find true love among the 10 top contenders (Herman Cain, Michelle Bachmann, Rick Santorum, Rick Perry, Gary Johnson, Sarah Palin, Jon Huntsman, Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney, Ron Paul). 

Click here to take an eight-question quiz and find the candidate of your dreams.

* We're using "scientific" in the Republican sense of the word. So we really mean "made up."

Name: Mitt Romney (b. Willard Mitt Romney)

DOB: March 12, 1947 (Shares a birthday with Liza Minelli, Jack Kerouac)
Aliases: Multiple-Choice Mitt, Million-Dollar Mitt

Experience: Son of former Michigan Gov. George W. Romney. Graduated from Brigham Young in 1971, then earned a law degree and an MBA from Harvard. Went into management consulting with Bain & Company, where he eventually became CEO. In 1984, he founded private equity firm Bain Capital that now manages roughly $65 billion in assets. In 1994, ran as the GOP nominee for a Massachusetts Senate seat but lost to Democrat Ted Kennedy. Served as President of the Salt Lake Organizing Committee for the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City. Elected governor of Massachusetts as a Republican in 2002, where he signed a health care overhaul mandating that every individual carry health insurance or pay a fine. Ran for the GOP's 2008 presidential nomination, but lost to Sen. John McCain.

Hangups: Consistency, normal human interaction, pet care.

Spending/Size of government/entitlement reform: Claims to believe that when it comes to spending, less is more: "Instead of thinking in the federal budget, what we should cut—we should ask ourselves the opposite question. What should we keep?" Has talked of the need to rein in spending, and not just "earmarks and pork barrel" waste, but also "entitlements and entitlement costs—that's where the big dollars are." Defends the mandate-and-regulate approach to health care he signed into law as governor of Massachusetts, but now vehemently opposes the approach when applied at the federal level, as with ObamaCare. Has promised that as president, he would call for a full repeal of last year's health care overhaul. Says he supports an unspecified variant on Rep. Paul Ryan's Medicare reform, which would transform the benefit into a premium-support program, but has also taken to criticizing ObamaCare's Medicare cuts, telling Florida seniors, "There's only one person I know of who has cut Medicare. That is the president of the United States. He cut it by $500 billion and put it into Obama Care, and I will turn that around. That is wrong. So when you see your friends with signs that say keep your hands off our Medicare, they are absolutely right."

Economic Policy: The former business consultant and CEO wants the federal government to be run like a lean, mean business, with a strong bias against centralized management: "Every time you have an occasion to take something from the federal government and send it back to the states, that's the right direction," he said in a June debate. "And if you can go even further and send it back to the private sector, that's even better." Takes a strong supply-side view: "The first lesson of Reagonomics," he said in 2008, is that "you cut taxes to grow the economy."

Foreign policy: Believes there are "four major strategies" at play in the world today: Russia's energy authoritarianism, China's mix of communism and wild-west free enterprise, the nihilism of Al Qaeda and other terrorists, and the strong free-market capitalism of the United States. Wants to make sure the U.S. strategy wins, which means "strengthening our friends" and helping other nations turn towards modernity. That means making sure that the U.S. has Islamic allies: "Ultimately the only people who can finally defeat these radical Islamic jihadists are the Muslims themselves," he said in 2007. Takes an aggressive stance toward Latin American dictators, arguing in 2007 that America should continue to isolate Cuba and work to ensure that American allies do the same. Overall hopes for  "a Latin American policy that frees Cuba and that eliminates a threat of people like Hugo Chavez."

Drug war: Said in 2007 that the trajectory of the war on drugs has been "disappointing." Favors increased anti-drug advocacy and education. "We're spending a lot trying to keep drugs from growing around the world. We're not doing a terrific job in helping kids decide not to try drugs." He wants a "much more effective marketing effort" to get children to avoid using drugs. But he doesn't want to rethink the war on drugs. He wants to win it. "We've got to not only continue our war on drugs from a police standpoint, but also to market again to our young people about the perils of drugs." He also opposes medical marijuana, which he's argued is "the entry drug for people trying to get kids hooked on drugs."

Personal Freedom: Once wrote a letter to the Massachusetts GOP in which he declared, "We must make equality for gays and lesbians a mainstream concern." Said this year that as president he would support a constitutional amendment limiting marriage to one man and one woman. He favors strong government surveillance powers to combat terrorism, and has praised the PATRIOT Act as a useful information gathering tool. Says he doesn't condone torture, but is open to euphemistic versions of the same: "I support tough interrogation techniques, enhanced interrogation techniques, in circumstances where there is a ticking time bomb, a ticking bomb," he told Iowa voters in 2007. May have been a porn profiteer: Romney was criticized in 2007 because Marriott hotels made hundreds of millions of dollars off selling in-room pornography during the same time he served on the hotel chain's board. Marriott has since stopped the practice.

Immigration: According to Politico, Romney "quietly" let it be known this spring hat he wanted Republicans to deal with immigration reform before the 2012 campaign season kicked into high gear. But he's also said he opposes comprehensive immigration reform legislation because of its length and complexity: "You look at some of the legislation that's passed over the past couple of years," he said on Fox News in April, "and you're talking about legislation of a couple thousand pages or more. I find that very difficult to deal with, both as a person who is supposed to read something like that and express an opinion on it or vote on it, but also as somebody who's being regulated or being affected by the legislation."

Education: Largely silent on education in the current campaign, but previously backed charter schools, performance pay for instructors, and No Child Left Behind. In a 2010 speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference, Romney vowed that "school accountability, school choice, cyber schools will be priorities," and declared that America needs to "put parents and teachers back in charge of education, not fat-cat CEOs of the teachers' unions."

Energy: When it comes to energy options, he likes them all: His 2007 campaign website warned that America was "using too much oil" and suggested that the solution was to "use alternative sources of energy—biodiesel, ethanol, nuclear power" as well as "drill for more oil here" and "be more energy independent" while pushing for greater efficiency. He's conveniently in favor of subsidies for corn-based ethanol. He ties his enthusiasm for various energy-policy schemes to his worries about oil authoritarianism, Romney said in 2007 that the U.S. should end its "strategic vulnerability to an oil shut-off by nations like Iran, Russia, and Venezuela."

Religious? Totally. In 1968, he went to France as a Mormon missionary, where he was the driver in a car accident that killed his mission president's wife. After the accident, the young Romney became co-manager of the mission. While campaigning for the GOP presidential nomination in 2008, Romney gave a speech in which he declared that "Freedom requires religion just as religion requires freedom." He also pushed back against the idea that candidates for political office should be required to discuss their beliefs in explicit detail. "There are some who would have a presidential candidate describe and explain his church's distinctive doctrines," he said. "To do so would enable the very religious test the founders prohibited in the Constitution. No candidate should become the spokesman for his faith."

Horoscope for 2011: "A busy week ahead," warns "This week your energy will be focused on domestic environment and on your close relationships. At work, mess ups and unorganization around will make you feel frustrating. You will consider the suitability of your job and some of you may go for broader horizon if any dissatisfaction in present condition is felt."

Campaign site:

Reason on Romney