Statement on Mitt Romney's Comments at CPAC from Bill Burton, Senior Strategist, Priorities USA Action:
"Mitt Romney's rehearsed statement comes from a hateful politics of the past that aims to arouse to the prejudices of a few by demeaning the relationships of millions of gay Americans. Unfortunately for Romney, a desperate campaign based on divisive demagoguery is beneath most American voters who instead want their President focused on a stronger economy and better future for all," said Bill Burton, senior strategist for Priorities USA Action. "Incidentally, gay marriage is legal in Massachusetts and from best I can tell, it still doesn't seem anything like Las Vegas."
At CPAC today, Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney Declared That He “Prevented Massachusetts from Becoming the Las Vegas of Gay Marriage.” [Romney CPAC Speech]
Romney Promised to “Fight” to Amend US Constitution to Ban Gay Marriage. “I will fight for an amendment to our Constitution that defines marriage as a relationship between a man and a woman.” [Romney CPAC Speech]
TO: Interested Parties
FR: Bill Burton, Priorities USA Action
RE: Sunday Memo: On Family Planning, Romney and Republicans Redefine Right-Wing
This week we saw another dramatic example of the opposition and activism generated by efforts to defund Planned Parenthood on the part of right-wing activists.
Yet still, perhaps the most under-covered example of the 2012 Republican Presidential candidates’ embrace of the far right is the new Republican litmus test on family planning.
For the last several decades it has been unfortunate Republican orthodoxy that their Presidential candidates must support outlawing abortion. Now apparently, the standard is not just opposing legal abortion, but also counter intuitively opposing efforts to reduce abortion. Just this week, Mitt Romney’s campaign told the New York Times that he supported abolishing all federal family planning funding.
Throughout most of its existence, Title X has been a noncontroversial program. It began under Nixon and has usually seen broad bipartisan support. The program covers birth control, STD screenings, and cervical-cancer exams for nearly 5 million Americans while explicitly not funding abortion. It is credited with improving women’s health and, of course, significantly reducing the number of abortions.
And Republicans have gone beyond Title X. Romney and the Republicans either ignore or discount a mountain of scientific evidence that access to contraception reduces unwanted pregnancies, reduces abortions, and reduces health care costs. They are active participants in the war on Planned Parenthood, an organization that enjoys broad public support for providing reproductive health services to millions.
Unlike the sometimes polarizing debate over abortion, there is a broad bipartisan consensus that the federal government should provide funding for birth control and that insurance companies should be required to cover it. Romney’s opposition to contraception access runs counter to overwhelming public opinion: A Reuters poll found 77% of Americans support the requirement that health insurance cover contraception and 78% believe the federal government should subsidize family planning services.
Romney and the other Republicans candidates have aligned themselves with a minority within a minority with a moral aversion to contraception they wish to impose on the entire country. It’s a worldview that idealizes the years before women had access to birth control.
Obviously, Romney would prefer that this issue stay out of the spotlight and simply reside in the minds of the few primary voters who share his extreme view until he is actually able to implement his promise from the White House.
While we don’t know the basis for Romney’s opposition to birth control access, the practical implication would be a substantial decrease in health care for millions of women and a substantial increase in the number of abortions in America.
Title X family planning was introduced with broad bipartisan support and signed into law by President Nixon. According to the Guttmacher Institute, “In 1970, Congress enacted Title X of the Public Health Service Act, the only federal program—then and now—devoted solely to the nationwide provision of family planning services. Introduced with bipartisan support and signed into law by President Nixon, Title X was designed to make contraceptive supplies and services available to all who want and need them but are unable to afford them without government assistance. The new program sought to fulfill Nixon's historic 1969 promise that "no American woman should be denied access to family planning assistance because of her economic condition." [Guttmacher Institute, April 2001]
Providing increased access to contraception would reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies. According to a report from the Guttmacher Institute, “But by providing access to contraceptive services and supplies to all women who would be eligible for a Medicaid-funded birth if they became pregnant, the equity strategy would be the most cost-effective. Although the impact would differ from state to state this approach would cost $800 million but avert $2.3 billion in costs from unplanned births for a net savings of $1.5 billion in Medicaid costs in the third year of the program's operation. It would enable nearly 500,000 women to avoid an unplanned pregnancy, reducing the number of un-planned pregnancies nationwide by 15%. Doing so would prevent nearly 200,000 abortions, cutting the number of abortions by 15% as well. Moreover, the effort would help 225,000 women avoid an unplanned birth each year.” [Guttmacher Institute, Summer 2006]
Mitt Romney has promised to eliminate Title X family planning. According to the New York Times, “But the Republican candidates have said that moral and religious values weigh heavily in birth control issues. Andrea Saul, a spokeswoman for Mitt Romney, said in an e-mail that he regarded the administration’s rule requiring religious employers to furnish birth control as wrong. “This is a direct attack on religious liberty and will not stand in a Romney presidency,” she said. Mr. Romney has also pledged to end a federal program, Title X, that provides family planning services to millions of women.” [New York Times, 1/29/12]
Title X family planning benefits millions of Americans each year. According to the Washington Post, "Created in 1970 during the Nixon years, Title X covers reproductive health services like birth control, STD screenings, and cervical-cancer exams. In 2008, the program reached about 5 million Americans, mostly women. While the program does provide funds to abortion providers, such as Planned Parenthood, federal law bars the program from covering abortion procedures." [Washington Post, 11/4/11]
Mitt Romney has promised to end federal funding for Planned Parenthood. In remarks delivered at the 2011 Values Voter Summit, Mitt Romney said “Our values must also encompass the life of an unborn child. There are, of course, strong convictions on both sides of the life issue. Yet, it speaks well of our country that almost all Americans recognize that abortion is a problem. The law may call it a right, but no one ever called it a good. And in the quiet of conscience, people of both political parties know that more than a million abortions a year cannot be squared with the good heart of America. I support the Hyde Amendment, which broadly bars the use of federal funds for abortions. As president, I will end federal funding for abortion advocates like Planned Parenthood.” [MittRomney.com, 10/8/11]
Mitt Romney has promised to end federal funding for Planned Parenthood. In a pledge published on his campaign website, Mitt Romney pledges that, “I support the Hyde Amendment, which broadly bars the use of federal funds for abortions. And as president, I will support efforts to prohibit federal funding for any organization like Planned Parenthood, which primarily performs abortions or offers abortion-related services.” [MittRomney.com, 6/18/11]
In a poll conducted by Thomson Reuters, a majority of respondents supported requiring health insurance to cover contraception and government subsidies for family planning services. According to NPR, “American consumers are broadly in favor of oral contraceptive coverage by both private and government-subsidized health insurance plans according to the NPR-Thomson Reuters Health Poll. […] The poll finds that 77 percent of respondents believe private insurance should cover most or all cost of oral contraceptives, and 74 percent believe government-subsidized insurance plans should cover birth control pills. Additionally, 78 percent said they believe the federal government should subsidize birth control and other family planning services, excluding abortion, at government-funded clinics for low-income women.” [NPR-Thomson Reuters Poll, 6/10/11]
TO: Interested Parties
FR: Bill Burton, Priorities USA Action
RE: Sunday Memo: Romney’s Transparent Two Faces to the Hispanic Community
Romney Outside Florida: “A lot of people just come here or come across or walk across the border, that have no skill, no education, and are looking for a free deal.”
Romney in Florida: “We don’t attack each other with those terrible terms. I’m not anti-immigrant. I’m pro-immigrant. I like immigration”
As he campaigned this week, Mitt Romney substantially toned down his rhetoric on immigration in a transparent attempt to appeal to Hispanic voters in Florida. But before he made it to Florida, Romney had already done permanent and irreversible damage to himself with Hispanic community as a result of right-wing policy promises, divisive rhetoric and endorsements from anti-immigrant politicians.
In two recent in-depth Hispanic polls, Romney has received 25 and 24 percent of the vote to President Obama’s 67 percent. Romney is trailing former President Bush’s 44 percent performance among Hispanics by double digits and even substantially behind John McCain’s anemic 31 percent performance.
Romney’s problem can be directly traced to his decision during the last five years of his presidential campaign to appeal to the worst nativist fears of some Republican primary voters. In 2008, he savaged Mike Huckabee and John McCain from the right on immigration. This campaign, he has done the same to Rick Perry and Newt Gingrich.
He’s promised to veto the DREAM Act, attacked McCain and Gingrich for advocating anything less than mass deportation, attacked Huckabee and Perry for bipartisan laws aimed to give children of immigrants a chance at college, touted the endorsement of the author of Arizona’s immigration law and made statements reflecting his view that a lot of immigrants come to the US “looking for a free deal.”
Priorities USA Action and SEIU began running a Spanish-language ad this week reminding voters that while Romney may begin pandering for their vote now, his policy and rhetoric in other states shouldn’t be forgotten. The title is “Dos Caras” or “Two Faces” and discusses Romney attempt to disguise his previous statements:
- In Florida, he expresses concern over the welfare of undocumented immigrants because of smugglers while in New Hampshire he says that the reason a lot of immigrants come to the US is for a “free deal.”
- In Florida, he campaigns with prominent supporters of the DREAM Act and claims he supports part of the legislation after he repeatedly promised to veto it in other states.
- In Florida, Romney bristles at Gingrich’s suggestion that his positions are anti-immigrant while in South Carolina he touted the endorsement of Kris Kobach, the author of Arizona’s draconian immigration law.
If he succeeds, Mitt Romney will be performing substantially worse with America’s fastest growing group of voters than any recent Republican nominee. And there is only one person to blame: Mitt Romney.
Priorities USA Action and SEIU began Spanish-language Ad “Dos Caras” Criticizing Romney’s Two Faced Attempts to Appeal to Hispanic Voters. The ad highlights Romney’s disingenuous Spanish language advertising that he hopes will paper over his previous divisive rhetoric and extreme policies on issues important to Hispanic families. [Priorities USA Action]
Romney Running Substantially Below Bush 2000, Bush 2004 and McCain 2008 Among Hispanic Voters. In the Univision Poll, Romney was at only 25% with Hispanics nationwide against President Obama who received 67% support. That was in line with a Latino decisions poll from last year, finding Obama 67% to Romney 24%. Romney’s current performance is 19 points below Bush’s 2004 result, 10 points below Bush’s 2000 result and even 6 points worse than McCain’s anemic 2008 performance. [Univision/ABC News Poll, 1/25/11; Univision/Latino Decision Poll, 11/8/11; CNN Exit Polls: 2000, 2004, 2008]
While speaking in Keene, New Hampshire, Mitt Romney said that many people come to America “looking for a free deal.” In September 2011, Mitt Romney in New Hampshire said, “immigration policies, that welcome the best and brightest to come here and stay here. My own view is, you know, a lot of people just come here, or come across, or walk across the border, that have no skill, no education, and are looking for a free deal.” It contrasts with his statement in a Univision interview in Florida this week where he stated, “We don’t attack each other with those terrible terms. I’m not anti-immigrant. I’m pro-immigrant. I like immigration” [NH Video; FL Video]
Romney Has Focused on Heated Rhetorical Attacks on Immigration. According to the Washington Post, “In dealing with the issue of immigration, Mitt Romney’s 2012 strategy is exactly like his 2008 strategy — run to the right, liberally use the words “amnesty” and “magnet,” and occasionally refer to illegal immigrants as simply “illegals.”” [Washington Post, 11/28/11]
Romney Airing Commercials in Florida in Spanish but in South Carolina touting endorsement of Kris Kobach, Author of Anti-Immigrant Laws. “In Florida, Republican presidential front-runner Mitt Romney is airing campaign commercials in Spanish telling Hispanics he's "one of us." In South Carolina, he is touting the endorsement of Kris Kobach, an anti- immigration activist who helped spearhead state laws that have sparked anger among Latinos.” [Bloomberg News, 1/17/12; New York Times, 1/11/12]
Romney Suggested “Self-Deportation” of Immigrants. According to the Los Angeles Times, “At a Republican presidential campaign forum in South Florida on Wednesday, Newt Gingrich mocked Mitt Romney’s suggestion earlier this week that illegal immigrants would "self-deport" back to their home countries once job opportunities dried up in the United States, and accused him of having little sympathy for Latino families that might be broken apart by an aggressive deportation policy.” [Los Angeles Times, 1/25/12]
Mitt Romney Repeatedly Promised He Would Veto the DREAM Act. According to ABC News, “Mitt Romney explicitly stated today that if he is elected president he would veto the Dream Act, legislation that would give permanent residency to some illegal immigrants who met certain criteria, such as having proof that they entered the country before age 16 or having a graduated from a U.S. high school.” Romney repeated and defended his promise to the veto the DREAM Act in subsequent appearances. [ABC News, 12/31/11; Crooks and Liars, 1/20/12; The Hill, 1/16/12]
After Perry Entrance, Romney Claimed Allowing Children of Immigrants In-State Tuition, “Only Attracts People to Come Here and Take Advantage of America’s great beneficence” At the MSNBC debate at the Reagan Library, the first with Perry on stage, Romney dialed up his rhetoric on immigration stating: “The reason they come in such great numbers is because we've left the magnet on. And I said, what do you mean, the magnet? And they said, when employers are willing to hire people who are here illegally, that's a magnet, and it draws them in. And we went in and talked about sanctuary cities, giving tuition breaks to the kids of illegal aliens, employers that, employers that knowingly hire people who are here illegally. Those things also have to be stopped.” Romney stated at the CNN/Tea Party debate that providing low tuition to children of undocumented immigrants, “only attracts people to come here and take advantage of America's great beneficence.” [Reagan Debate Transcript, 9/7/11; CNN Debate Transcript, 9/12/11]
Romney Focused Attacks on Gingrich Over Immigration. According to The LA Times, “Romney also took on Newt Gingrich for his comments on illegal immigration at Tuesday's debate. He said what Gingrich was describing amounted to "a new doorway for amnesty" and he noted that Gingrich voted for amnesty in the past. "We make a mistake as a Republican Party to try and describe which people who come here illegally should be given amnesty to be able to jump ahead of line of the people who have been waiting in line," he said. "It’s the wrong course for a Republican debate.”[LA Times, 11/23/11]
Romney Attacked McCain From Right on Immigration Then Claimed to Have Not Seen His Own Ads. In 2008, Romney attacked Senator McCain’s plan for comprehensive immigration reform, calling it amnesty. Romney then falsely claimed at a debate his ads didn’t use the term amnesty. Confronted the next day my ABC, Romney claimed he hadn’t seen either of his two television ads on immigration. McCain said, “you can spend your whole fortune on these attack ads, but it still won't be true.” [ABC News, 1/6/08; ABC News, 1/5/08]
Romney Attacked Huckabee From Right on Immigration For Arkansas Law Providing Access to College for Children of Immigrants. According to the New York Times, Romney’s ad, “says that Mr. Huckabee, as governor of Arkansas, supported in-state tuition benefits for illegal immigrants and taxpayer-financed scholarships for illegal immigrants….A spokesman for the Huckabee campaign, Joe Carter, said of the advertisement: “We’re just kind of disappointed that he’s taking this kind of approach. We’d just ask people to compare our proposal on immigration and his, and our record on immigration and his.”” [New York Times, 12/11/07]
Romney Has Bragged About 2008 Support From Arizona Sheriff Joe Arapaio. “Romney advocates “employee identification cards” so businesses won’t hire illegal immigrants. He opposes legislation -- sponsored by rival John McCain -- that would allow some of those here illegally to earn citizenship. His campaign touts support from an Arizona sheriff who has drawn national publicity for rounding up smuggled immigrants and jailing them in tents in the desert.” [Miami Herald, 3/9/07]
RESEARCH MEMO: Report On Columbus Swing Voters’ Responses To President Obama’s State Of The Union Address
TO: Priorities USA Action
FROM: Geoff Garin, Hart Research Associates
DATE: January 24, 2012
RE: Report On Columbus Swing Voters’ Responses To President Obama’s State Of The Union Address
Based on our dial session with 28 voters in Columbus, Ohio, President Obama’s State of the Union speech was an exceptionally strong performance, leaving viewers with a clear impression of him as a strong leader who cares about the middle class and offers good ideas and solutions for America’s future. Voters’ positive reception of the speech’s core themes suggests that they will serve as a solid foundation for the President in the months ahead, in framing both his policy agenda and the case for his reelection.
Half the participants in this session describe themselves as either leaning Republican or completely independent, while the other half lean Democratic. All 28 participants gave the speech a rating of six or higher on a 10-point favorability scale, and more than half gave it an eight-to-10 rating.
Voters’ dominant impression of Obama based on the speech is that he is a strong and confident leader. Indeed, in a before-and-after test, the proportion of participants describing Obama as “a strong leader” rose from 39% to 71%.
The speech also strengthened the President’s reputation among these swing voters as a champion of the middle class. Fully 78% said after the speech that Obama “looks out for the middle class,” up from 59% before the speech.
These Ohio voters, Democrats and non-Democrats alike, had a strongly favorable reaction to President Obama’s policy proposals, particularly on the economic front. Two-thirds of participants said the President “offered good ideas and solutions for the future” in the speech. The share of participants who said Obama has good ideas for improving the economy rose from 39% before the speech to 79% after the speech.
The large majority of participants dismissed the idea that Obama’s discussion of the economy was too divisive or an example of “class warfare.” Only six of the 28 participants said Obama “went too far in dividing the country along economic lines and engaging in class warfare.”
President Obama also strengthened his standing in participants’ eyes as someone who tries to work across party lines to get things done for the country. The proportion of participants who described the President in these terms rose from 50% before the speech to 71% after the speech. In the moment-to-moment dialing of the speech, the President’s closing appeal for national unity received consistently outstanding scores, and this passage stood out as a stirring reminder to these swing voters of what attracted them to Barack Obama in the first place.
Several passages in the speech produced large positive spikes in voters’ ratings. In addition to the closing section, the following key points in the speech were among those that evoked the most favorable responses:
- The discussion of the end of U.S. military involvement in Iraq and the fact that for the first time in many years Osama Bin Laden is no longer a threat to the United States;
- Obama’s recounting of the rebirth of the American automobile industry as a result of the government’s actions to save it;
- Obama’s policy discussion on outsourcing, his insistence on leveling the playing field with our foreign competitors, and his emphasis on ending tax advantages for U.S. companies that outsource jobs;
- The discussion of the importance of job training and supporting the efforts of community colleges in helping prepare workers to succeed in today’s job market;
- Obama’s emphasis on college affordability, including his call to lower the rates on student loans;
- Obama’s support for an “all of the above” energy policy, especially his calls for American leadership in new energy sources and an end to subsidies for the oil industry;
- Obama’s strong support for enhanced protections from mercury pollution and ensuring that our food is safe and our water is clean;
- Obama’s insistence on reforms in which wealthy Americans pay their fair share of taxes; and,
- The discussion of the situation with Iran, including both his declaration that all options are on the table to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon and his declaration that resolving this situation diplomatically would be preferable.
Obama’s extended discussion of the ways in which Washington is broken received an exceptionally positive reaction from participants, especially his call for an end to insider trading by members of Congress.
Of particular interest in watching the dials during the speech were the number of points during which the President broke through with non-college-educated participants, who traditionally have been a skeptical and difficult audience for him. His discussion of jobs and economic fairness was especially effective with this group.
Similarly, the speech scored well overall with independents, and at several points their mean rating for the speech broke the 70-point mark (on a scale of zero to 100)¾an indicator of significant success.
RELEASE: In New Florida Ad Campaign, SEIU and Priorities USA Action Blast Mitt Romney for Disingenuous, ‘Two Faced’ Outreach to the Hispanic Community
In New Florida Ad Campaign, SEIU and Priorities USA Action Blast Mitt Romney for Disingenuous, ‘Two Faced’ Outreach to the Hispanic Community
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Several weeks ago, the 2.1 million-member Service Employees International Union (SEIU) declared through an endorsement of President Barack Obama and the endorsement of a 99 percent agenda, that working people were ready to fight for a vision of America that includes a pathway to citizenship for every immigrant worker, a stronger middle class and a better future for all working people.
As part of the effort to deliver on this 99 percent agenda, SEIU today announced a joint ad campaign with Priorities USA Action to highlight the two faces of Mitt Romney, including his insincere and disingenuous outreach strategy to Hispanic voters. Mr. Romney has been running Spanish language media ads to try to convince the community that he shares our values but his record on jobs, immigration and education paints a vastly different story.
“Mitt Romney fails to recognize the problem with alleging concern for the Hispanic community while supporting pro-corporate policies, railing against the DREAM Act, which allows young, talented Hispanics an opportunity to pursue educational goals; and partnering with Kris Kobach, the godfather of anti-immigrant legislation such as Arizona’s SB 1070,” said SEIU Secretary-Treasurer Eliseo Medina. “He says one thing in English language media to appeal to conservative voters and another thing in Spanish language media.”
SEIU is releasing the first ad of the joint ad campaign on Tuesday, Jan. 24. The ad will air in Tampa and Orlando.
“The ad campaign is part of a broader effort to talk to voters about where candidates stand on the core issues that affect working families, and how we can enact policies that work for the 99 percent, not just the 1 percent,” said SEIU National Political Director Brandon Davis. “A core piece of that strategy is supporting candidates who are committed to focusing on good job creation, ending devastating cuts to programs such as Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, calling on the rich and large corporations to pay their fair share in taxes and creating a fair pathway to citizenship for immigrants.”
"If elected President, Mitt Romney’s policies would be devastating to Hispanic families. In a Romney administration, the tax burden would shift onto middle class families in order to protect corporations and the wealthiest Americans," said Paul Begala, Senior Advisor for Priorities USA Action. “Mitt Romney would not only block a path to citizenship for immigrants, he would slash education, repeal healthcare reform and undermine social security and Medicare at a time when we need it most.”
“Working people are looking for candidates to be honest, consistent and straightforward. Mitt Romney is failing on all accounts,” Medina said.
Although the SEIU-Priorities USA Action campaign is targeting Mitt Romney, no current GOP presidential candidate, including Newt Gingrich or Rick Santorum, are viable alternatives for Hispanic voters.
To listen to the ad, click here http://action.seiu.org/page/s/DosCaras.
Mitt Romney has no shame. He shows one face to the Hispanic community and another completely different one to everyone else.
On the one hand, he launches a commercial here in Florida targeted to Hispanic voters to try and convince us that he shares our values.
But in another state he boasts about having the endorsement of Kris Kobach, a leader in the anti-Hispanic movement and author of many anti-immigrant laws like Arizona’s SB 1070 that unfairly attack our families and spread fear and uncertainty in our communities.
Romney says he cares about our children, but he has promised to veto the DREAM Act that would open the doors of opportunity for young Hispanics.
His Spanish-language ads say Romney “believes in us”, but his deeds speak for themselves.
Let’s not be fooled. He might have two faces, but we know all too well who the true Mitt Romney is.
Paid for by SEIU-COPE. SEIU.org. Not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee.
With 2.1 million members in Canada, the United States and Puerto Rico, SEIU is the fastest-growing union in the Americas. Focused on uniting workers in healthcare, public services and property services, SEIU members are winning better wages, healthcare and more secure jobs for our communities, while uniting their strength with their counterparts around the world to help ensure that workers--not just corporations and CEOs--benefit from today's global economy. www.seiu.org
TO: Interested Parties
FR: Bill Burton, Priorities USA Action
RE: Sunday Memo: On Tax Debate, Romney Proves Our Point
Even most Democrats would admit that we often lose the political debate over taxes in America. Our arguments about tax fairness and the wealthy paying their fair share can be abstract compared to the Republican simplicity of claiming to always want to cut taxes no matter what.
In what would represent a major shift in the tax debate, potential Republican nominee Mitt Romney personally provides the rationale for progressive arguments about taxes.
Even prior to his bizarrely tortured dodge in Thursday’s CNN Debate, news reports on Romney’s hidden tax returns provided specific examples for progressives’ general arguments about taxes. Even though he is worth hundreds of millions of dollars, Romney pays a lower tax rate than many middle class Americans. Romney also has access to complicated legal maneuvers involving offshore accounts and retirement savings that simply are not available to everyday Americans.
The general debate over tax fairness is substantially less abstract with Republican nominee Mitt Romney:
· Our current tax system is unfair because the very wealthiest often pay a lower tax rate than middle class Americans.
See: “Romney’s estimated 15 percent tax rate rekindles fairness argument,” NBC News, 1/18/12
· Wealthy individuals are often able to take advantage of special tax schemes not available average Americans.
See: “Romney IRA’s Offshore Investments: Helping His Tax Bill?,” Wall Street Journal, 1/19/12
· With expensive lawyers and nameless post office boxes, Wall Street companies and rich individuals are able to keep their wealth in offshore accounts.
See: “Romney Parks Millions in Cayman Islands,” ABC News, 1/18/12
· Wall Street takes advantage of a specific tax loophole not available to any other taxpayers.
See: “Romney Disclosure Reignites Debate Over Carried Interest,” New York Times, 1/17/12
TO: Interested Parties
FR: Bill Burton, Priorities USA Action
RE: Sunday Memo: On Wall Street Excess, Republican Elites Versus Republican Voters
Republican elites in DC and Boston have made clear this week that any criticism of Wall Street excesses generally and Mitt Romney’s profits as a corporate buyout specialist specifically is an attempt to “put free enterprise on trial,” “an attack on capitalism,” and most subtly: “communism.”
But the views of actual Republican voters are very different from the Republican establishment. By large majorities, Republican voters believe Wall Street is “greedy,” “overpaid,” and “dishonest.” They also overwhelmingly reject the establishment Republican dogma that all of Wall Street’s actions are inherently beneficial to the US economy.
Even to South Carolina Republican primary voters -- hardly members of Occupy Wall Street -- Romney's business record is deeply troubling. In Priorities USA Action poling completed Monday, 53% of South Carolina Republican primary voters (including one-third of his own supporters) expressed major doubts about Romney when given a description of his work that resulted in massive profits for him even if companies went bankrupt and fired their workers. Wall Street investment firms had a net negative rating with South Carolina Republicans, with 49% unfavorable and just 35% favorable.
And these are Republican voters – the overall electorate is even more willing to question Wall Street excesses and will be even more wary of Romney’s background.
The worship of Wall Street infallibility expressed by conservative elites from Fox News to Rush Limbaugh is completely disconnected from the healthy skepticism of Wall Street excesses held by actual conservative voters watching Fox News and listening to Rush Limbaugh.
Republicans in DC and Boston certainly have something to fear: by nominating the personification of Wall Street excess, they risk finally exposing the rift between the elites who control the Republican Party and the voters who are the Republican Party. Already, in Iowa and New Hampshire, the cracks are beginning to show. The only income group Romney won in Iowa was those earning over $100,000 a year. In his effective home state of New Hampshire, the only income group Romney won a majority of was those earning over $200,000 a year and his support declined incrementally with every income group below.
If these problems exist for Romney among Republican primary voters, they will only grow as he is introduced to a general electorate that rightly has deep concerns about the Wall Street deals that benefited executives like Mitt Romney but left middle class families devastated.
Romney: Criticism of Bain Work Represents “Bitter Politics of Envy” and Attempt to “Put Free Enterprise on Trial.” In his New Hampshire victory speech, Romney said attacks on him profiting from layoffs represented “the bitter politics of envy.” He said criticism by leading Republican presidential candidates and Democrats of his business record was an attempt to “put free enterprise on trial.” [Washington Post’s Plum Line, 1/11/12; The Hill, 1/11/12]
Republican Elites Defended Romney’s Business Practices, Accused Critics of Opposition to Capitalism. The Club for Growth described criticism of Romney’s corporate buyout work as, “Attacking Governor Romney for participating in free-market capitalism” and “disgusting.” Romney surrogate and Washington Post blogger Jennifer Rubin described a Gingrich supporter’s criticism of Bain as “an attack on capitalism.” Top Romney surrogate said criticism of Romney’s work was “anti-free enterprise” and included an implied threat that those financing anti-Romney ads might lose access to loans from Wall Street. [Right Turn Blog, 1/9/12; Club for Growth, 1/9/12; Fox News, 1/10/12]
Giuliani and McCain Compared Criticism of Romney’s Business Record to Communism. Rudy Giuliani said, “The stuff you’re [Gingrich] saying is one of the reasons we’re in this trouble now. This whole ignorant populist view of the economy that was proven to be incorrect with the Soviet Union with Chinese communism.” McCain said, “Keep everybody in business, keep every industry no matter how bad it is. And that’s what communism is, and unfortunately it doesn’t work. And, look, nobody feels worse than someone who is involved in it when you have to lay people off. But the fact is that there are so many times when you have to improve, you have to cut back, you have to do things.” [ABC News, 1/12/12; Fox News via Mediaite, 1/12/12]
72% of Republicans and 76% of Conservatives Describe Wall Street as “Greedy.” 72% of Republicans in a CNN poll described “Wall Street bankers and brokers” as “greedy.” 76% of conservatives also described Wall Street as “greedy.” [CNN Poll, 10/24/11]
Over 2/3 of Republicans and Conservatives Believe Wall Street is “Overpaid.” According to a CNN Poll, 69% of Republicans and 71% of conservatives believe Wall Street bankers and brokers are overpaid. [CNN Poll, 10/24/11]
Republicans Voters Do Not “Trust Wall Street Bankers and Brokers to Do What is Best for the Economy.” According to a CNN Poll, only 31% of Republicans voters trust Wall Street “a great deal” or “somewhat” to do what is best for the economy. 25% said “a little” and a clear plurality of 43% said “not at all.” [CNN Poll, 10/24/11]
Clear Majority of Republicans and Conservatives Call Wall Street “Dishonest.” In a CNN Poll, 55% of Republicans and 58% of conservatives said “dishonest” accurately describes Wall Street bankers and brokers. [CNN Poll, 10/24/11]
Even 38% of Republicans Believe Their Party Favors the Rich. 38% of Republicans believe their party favors the rich, with 18% believing they favor the middle class, 4% the poor and 38% favoring all equally. [CBS/NYT Poll, 10/25/11]
Priorities USA Action Polling: SC Republicans Respond Negatively to Romney’s Work as Buyout Specialist. 53% of South Carolina likely Republican primary voters expressed “major doubts” about Romney when read a description of his work that resulted in massive profits for himself even when companies went bankrupt and workers were laid off. One-third of Romney’s own supporters expressed major doubts. Furthermore, Wall Street investment firms carry a net negative rating among SC Republican primary voters, with 49% unfavorable and only 35% favorable. [Priorities USA Action Polling, Survey of 511 Likely SC Republican Primary Voters, Conducted: January 6-9, 2012]
79% of Americans Believe “The Gap Between the Rich and the Poor in the United States Has Grown Too Large.” [Time Poll, 10/11/11]
76% of Americans Agreed “The current economic structure of the country is out of balance and favors a very small proportion of the rich over the rest of the country.” 76% of Americans agreed (60% Strongly Agreed) with the statement, “The current economic structure of the country is out of balance and favors a very small proportion of the rich over the rest of the country. America needs to reduce the power of major banks and corporations and demand greater accountability and transparency. The government should not provide financial aid to corporations and should not provide tax breaks to the rich.” Only 12% disagreed. [NBC News/WSJ Poll, 11/5/11]
77% of Americans In a Pew poll Said Rich Have Too Much Power. 77% of American answered affirmatively to the question, “Do you think there is too much power in the hands of a few rich people and large corporations in the United States, or don’t you think so?” [Pew, 12/15/11]
In Iowa, Romney Only Won Voters Making Over $100,000 Per Year. In Iowa exit polls, the only income subgroup Romney won was those making over $100,000 a year. [CNN Exit Poll]
In New Hampshire, Romney Won Majority Only Of Voters Making Over $200,000. In New Hampshire exit polls, Romney only won a majority among voters making over $200,000 a year. His support declined corresponding to each drop in income level below $200,000. [CNN Exit Poll]
Because so much gets lost in the clutter – and because its actually shockingly difficult to stand out in today’s extremist GOP – we’ve collected some statements from just the past few days, as the candidates are in search of votes in New Hampshire:
- "And so I'm prepared, if the NAACP invites me, I'll go to their convention to talk about why the African-American community should demand pay checks and not be satisfied with food stamps." ~ Newt Gingrich
- "I would send troops back into Iraq" ~ Rick Perry, pledging to re-invade Iraq
- “He said, ‘Mitt, never get involved in politics if you have to win an election to pay a mortgage.’” ~ Mitt Romney, imparting paternal wisdom and the importance of plutocracy
- “South Carolina, you’re in a state of war with the federal government” ~ Rick Perry, talking about 2012 and not 1862
- “I like to be able to fire people who provide services to me” ~ Mitt Romney, the man who campaigns on elect-ability, disproving that thesis
- "I know what it's like to worry whether you're going to get fired," Mr. Romney said. "There were a couple of times I wondered whether I was going to get a pink slip." ~ Mitt Romney, manufacturing crocodile tears
While we obviously strongly disagree with a lot of the statements above, we took a deeper look at Mitt’s claim that he is just like average Americans and has often had to fear being fired.
The verdict – it’s completely absurd.
When Mitt was negotiating the terms of leaving his corporate consulting job, he was guaranteed that if new job didn’t work out, he would get old job back…oh, and any raises he might have otherwise have received had he stayed. Moreover, to make sure that the ever reputation-minded Romney wouldn’t have his image tarnished, his boss promised that if everything went well and the company folded, they’d create an elaborate cover story. You can read the Washington Post’s write by clicking here.
How out of touch is Romney? There is insulting, and then there’s Mitt Romney: regular guy, struggling to get by. Pretending you face the same economic uncertainties of millions of Americans who have lost their jobs – and the thousands at companies you shut down – when you know very well you’ve woven your very own golden parachute.
P.S. - Remember when he joked with Florida voters about being unemployed. Wasn't that awkward? Maybe its not his fault that he is so out of touch. Maybe he thinks all unemployed American's get similar post-employment benefits, just like he does.
TO: Interested Parties
FR: Bill Burton, Priorities USA Action
Ad: American Bridge 21st Century & Priorities USA Action
RE: NEW SOCIAL MEDIA AD on Rove’s Attempt to Pre-Empt Voters with a Romney Coronation
Though Mitt Romney has spent 5 years of his run for President mired at 25%, there is one group that is signaling their singular support: the Washington Establishment. And Karl Rove, the king of conventional GOP wisdom is working double-time to make sure rank-and-file Republicans know it's time to fall in line. Through his constant television appearances and weekly op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, Rove has consistently favored Mitt Romney and done what he does best: work to tear down any credible rival to Romney.
He declared Romney’s tie with Santorum “a big win for Romney in Iowa.” He systemically unleashes harsh critiques of the latest what he calls “the GOP’s not Romney.” He defends Romney’s gaffes and policies, including the Massachusetts health care plan most Republicans dislike.
For Rove, helping the favored candidate of Wall Street is an important sign of trust for the billionaire executives that Rove relies on for contributions. For Romney, earning Rove’s embrace is the successful culmination of six-years of saying anything to win the support of the Washington Republican establishment.
Conveniently for this political marriage they are both dedicated to the same agenda: Protecting their donors and colleagues on Wall Street at the expense of the middle class.
You just have to wonder if voters are ready to be told by Karl Rove and the Washington establishment who they should be supporting in this primary.
Rove: Tying Santorum in Iowa “A Big Win for Romney.” Despite most political observers saying Romney came in below expectations by tying Santorum in Iowa, Rove said the caucus was “A Big Win for Romney in Iowa.” Rove devoted the entire op-ed to praising Romney and questioning the viability of his opponents. [Wall Street Journal, 1/5/12]
Rove Op-Ed Dedicated to Criticizing “GOP’s Not-Romney.” Rove used his Wall Street Journal column to attack Rick Perry, the latest “not-Romney,” calling his remarks “unpresidential.” Rove also claimed that Republican primary voters were only concerned with selecting the person they perceive to be the most electable and judged the campaign structure, polish of television ads and fundraising numbers to help determine their choice. [Wall Street Journal, 8/17/11]
Rove in Newsmax Criticized All Other Candidates, Praised Romney. In an interview with right-wing website Newsmax, Rove praised Romney and said he would be able to win the conservative base because he is so dedicated to defeating Barack Obama. Rove individually criticized all the other Republican candidates. [Newsmax, 11/29/11]
Rove Defended Romney on $10,000 Bet: Not a Big Mistake. On Fox News, Rove defended Romney’s $10,000 bet debate gaffe saying, “I didn’t think it was a big mistake.” Rove then attacked the media for covering the $10,000 bet. [Fox News]
Rove: “Big Differences” Between RomneyCare and Obama Health Reform. Rove claimed that there are “big differences” between RomneyCare and the national health reform law, a position at odds with most Republicans. Rove also claimed that the Obama Administration gave Romney a “Christmas gift in August” by pointing out that that health care reform was modeled on Massachusetts. [Fox News]
Bill O’Reilly: Rove Favors Romney. On his Fox News show, Bill O’Reilly told Rove: “I think you think Governor Romney is the best.” [Fox News]
Right-Wing Radio Host: “Rove is not an analyst, Rove is a Mitt Romney cheerleader.” Right-wing radio host Mark Levin said, “…Rove is not an analyst, Rove is a Mitt Romney cheerleader.” [Mark Levin Show]
After Gingrich Agreed to Trump Debate, Rove Said Candidates Should Not Participate. On Fox News this morning, Karl Rove said that Republican candidates should not participate in the debate hosted by Donald Trump. Gingrich was the first candidate to agree to Trump’s debate. Rove attacked Trump’s financial disclosure, television show and said, “I think the Republican National chairman ought to step in and say we strongly discourage every candidate from appearing in a debate moderated by somebody who's going to run for president.” Gingrich had agreed to the debate Saturday. [Fox News, 12/5/11; USA Today, 12/4/11]
Rove Praised Romney, Criticized Gingrich During Newsmax Interview. According to Newsmax, “Analyzing the major Republican candidates, Rove observes: Mitt Romney can win over the conservative base because the right is going to be “wired up” about defeating President Obama at all costs. Newt Gingrich mania “is real, but the question is how focused and disciplined is he going to be with his message as the primaries approach.” Rove believes Gingrich’s stance on immigration will cause him problems in Iowa.” [Newsmax, 11/29/11]
Rove Consistently Attacked Latest Alternative to Romney. Mediate: “It’s not just Gingrich, after all. A look at Rove’s criticism over the past year matches up very well with the volatile top of the Republican primary polls.” [Mediaite, 12/5/11]
Political Director of American Crossroads Also Leading Romney Super PAC. The Political Director of Rove’s American Crossroads, Carl Forti, is also leading Romney’s Super PAC, Restore Our Future. [Politico, 6/24/11]
TO: Interested Parties
FR: Bill Burton, Priorities USA Action
Mitt Romney today has adopted the message of former Tea Party candidate Michele Bachmann in a transparent attempt to appeal to her extremist supporters. Romney’s phony outrage about “crony capitalism” is particularly surprising considering Romney’s record in Massachusetts.
When Romney was Governor of Massachusetts, “the state handed out $4.5 million in loans to two firms run by his campaign donors that have since defaulted, leaving taxpayers holding the bag.” Romney lured one of the companies to Massachusetts by offering a direct loan from the state and his Administration bragged about using government loans to attract business.
But, now that Romney is running for President, he claims that government loans to private companies are “crony capitalism.” It’s the worst kind of hypocrisy from a candidate who has proven he will do or say anything to advance his political career.
Romney Today Accused Obama of Crony Capitalism. According to the Associated Press, “Mitt Romney on Thursday labeled President Barack Obama as a "crony capitalist," invoking a theme that Rep. Michele Bachmann used before she left the presidential race…As examples, Romney pointed to controversial appointments Obama made Wednesday to the National Labor Relations Board and to the bankruptcy of California energy company Solyndra after a $528 million federal loan from the Obama administration.” [Associated Press, 1/5/11]
Romney as Presidential Candidate: Government Investing in Companies of Contributors is “Crony Capitalism” On Fox News, Romney said, “The whole idea of the federal government investing in these companies, particularly when there’s such a connection with Democratic fund-raisers, leaves a very bad taste in people’s minds and suggests a pattern of crony capitalism. And that’s something which America simply can’t stand for.” [Fox News via Boston Globe, 11/17/11]
Romney as Governor: Two Companies Run by Campaign Contributors Received Government Loans Then Defaulted. According to the Boston Herald, “GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney has hammered President Obama for his administration’s tax-funded investment blunders — but when Romney was governor, the state handed out $4.5 million in loans to two firms run by his campaign donors that have since defaulted, leaving taxpayers holding the bag. The two companies — Acusphere and Spherics Inc. — stiffed the state on nearly $2.1 million in loans provided through the state’s Emerging Technology Fund, a $25 million investment program created while Romney was governor in 2003 that benefitted 13 local firms. Acusphere, a biotechnology firm headed by a Romney campaign donor, got $2 million in 2004 that it was supposed to put toward a $20 million manufacturing facility in Tewksbury, which never became fully operational. Calls to Acusphere’s headquarters in Lexington were not returned.” [Boston Herald, 12/1/11]
Romney Jobs Plan in Massachusetts Based on Government Loans to Private Companies. According to the Boston Herald, “Romney's effort would use $ 8 million for low-interest loans to help with operational expenses at distressed firms looking to stay or expand here, D'Souza said. Romney would also direct $ 10 million toward grants andloans for high-tech companies that agree to create at least 250 jobs in thestate in a year, D'Souza said. That would come from $ 25 million the Legislature recently approved for an "emerging technology fund."” [Boston Herald, 3/23/04]
“Romney lured Spherics, a pharmaceutical company, away from Rhode Island by offering a $2.5 million direct loan” According to the Washington Examiner, “Romney didn’t compete for business through lower taxes and regulation: He tried to enticethem to the state with special subsidies. In 2005, Romney lured Spherics, apharmaceutical company, away from Rhode Island by offering a $2.5 million direct loan from the states Emerging Technology Fund. That same year, he signed a bill creating the Massachusetts Film Office that wasempowered to hand out special tax credits to studios filming movies in the Bay State.” [Washington Examiner, 5/16/11]
Romney Administration Took Credit for Relocating Spherics to Massachusetts. According to a press release from the State of Massachusetts, the Romney Administration took credit for luring Spherics toMassachusetts with the $2.5 million loan. "Creating and fostering a business-friendly environment attracts companies like Spherics," said Ranch C. Kimball, Governor Mitt Romney's secretary of economic development and chair of MassDevelopment. "Spherics' move is a tangible result of the combined and coordinated efforts of the public and private sectors to highlight the benefits of locating in Massachusetts." [MA Release, 8/12/05]