The 57th United States presidential election has once again predictably narrowed down to only two realistic presidential candidates: the incumbent, President Barack Obama for the Democrats, and Gov. Mitt Romney, for the Republicans. Accordingly, we've compiled the most comprehensive database of their positions on all the topics and all the issues to assist you, the electorate, in casting your vote on November 6. Just scroll down below the introductions and click one of the 29 issues and 12 profile categories to compare the political stances and biographical data of 2012 Presidential Candidates.
While Romney is seen as a moderate on many issues, this is definitely not one of them.
Wendell Goler: I want to talk, gentlemen, about presidential power and the war on terror here at home. And Governor Romney, I’ll start with you. You have said that the government should wiretap some mosques to keep tabs on Islamic extremists. Would you do this even without a judge’s approval, sir?
Mitt Romney: No, of course not. We’d use the law to follow people who are teaching doctrines of terror and hate, and make sure that if they’re doing that in a mosque, in a school, at a playground, wherever it’s being done, we know what’s going on.
There’s no question but that we’re under threat from people who want to attack our country in this global effort. And I know there’s a lot of attention paid to, if you will, trying to respond to what would happen if we were attacked, and that’s appropriate. We need to have first response up to, up to the best standards.
But our focus has to be on preventing an attack, and preventing attack means good intelligence work. It means if people are coming to this country terrorizing or talking about terror in such a way that it could lead to the violent death of Americans, we need to know about that, track them, follow them, and make sure that in every way we can we know what they’re doing and where they’re doing it.
And if it means we have to go into a mosque to wiretap or a church, then that’s exactly where we’re going to go because we’re going to do whatever it takes to protect the American people. And I hear from time to time people say, hey, wait a second, we have civil liberties we have to worry about. But don’t forget the most important civil liberty I expect from my government is my right to be kept alive, and that’s what we’re going to have to do.
September 5, 2007: GOP Presidential Debate, Whittemore Center, University of New Hampshire, New Hampshire
“Conservatism has had from its inception vigorously positive, intellectually rigorous agenda and thinking. That agenda should have, mind you, three pillars: strength in the economy, strength in our security and strength in our families. We will strengthen our security by building missile defense, restoring our military might and standing by and strengthening our intelligence officers. Conservatives believe in providing constitutional rights to our citizens, not to enemy combatants like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. Not on our watch. A conversation with a would-be suicide bomber will not begin with the words, "You have the right to remain silent.”
February 20, 2010: 2010 Conservative Political Action Conference, Washington
Civil libertarians and civil rights activists had high hopes that an Obama presidency would signal a reversal of the legislative challenges to civil liberties that were enacted during the Bush administration, specifically in relation to homeland security laws. However, there is a growing sense of disenchantment with the President over his perceived capitulation in the face of the ‘soft on terror’ charges made by his political opponents. So much so, Obama, with his long history of supporting civil liberties causes, is now seen as siding with the hawkish elements of Congress.
Legendary actor and prominent social and political activist, Harry Belafonte Jr., a noted Obama supporter, expressed his disappointment in the president’s approach to civil liberties while speaking after the screening of his autobiographical film at the Paramount Theater in Charlottesville on January 24, 2012.
“More important,” he said, are “the homeland security laws, which were written to such extremes that they defied imagination that anyone could have thought of those laws.”
That those laws made their way through Congress and were signed by the President, he said, “was an absolutely stunning experience for all of us, and certainly for some of us who saw it in the depth of its villainy.”
Looking out over the audience, Belafonte painted a darkly dramatic picture of the effect of laws like the USA PATRIOT Act and the recently passed National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), signed on December 31 by President Obama.”
January 25, 2012: The Examiner, Belafonte criticizes Obama on civil liberties in Charlottesville
Obama’s signing of the wide-ranging $662 billion national defense bill, H.R. 1540 (National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012), in particular, has riled up civil liberties group. They accuse the President of abandoning his principles over political expediency. While a veto from him would not necessarily prevent a subsequent passing of the bill by Congress, it would establish his moral authority on the subject.
Activists are particularly concerned with Title X (Subtitle D, Section 1031-1032) of the Act, which authorizes the military to participate in domestic law enforcement and bypass the judicial process, which they believe is a direct infringement of the Fifth and Sixth Amendment, as well as the Posse Comitatus Act (U.S. Code § 1385), which states,
§ 1385. USE OF ARMY AND AIR FORCE AS POSSE COMITATUS
Whoever, except in cases and under circumstances expressly authorized by the Constitution or Act of Congress, willfully uses any part of the Army or the Air Force as a posse comitatus or otherwise to execute the laws shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than two years, or both.
White House insiders, meanwhile, argues that eliminating these provisions from the bill would have prevented its passing in Congress, and create another legislative battle that would affect the nation’s defense budget, including the wages for our military personnel, and the President had to make a pragmatic decision.
“I have signed the Act chiefly because it authorizes funding for the defense of the United States and its interests abroad, crucial services for service members and their families, and vital national security programs that must be renewed. In hundreds of separate sections totaling over 500 pages, the Act also contains critical Administration initiatives to control the spiraling health care costs of the Department of Defense (DoD), to develop counterterrorism initiatives abroad, to build the security capacity of key partners, to modernize the force, and to boost the efficiency and effectiveness of military operations worldwide.
The fact that I support this bill as a whole does not mean I agree with everything in it. In particular, I have signed this bill despite having serious reservations with certain provisions that regulate the detention, interrogation, and prosecution of suspected terrorists…
… Ultimately, I decided to sign this bill not only because of the critically important services it provides for our forces and their families and the national security programs it authorizes, but also because the Congress revised provisions that otherwise would have jeopardized the safety, security, and liberty of the American people.”
December 31, 2011: Obama announcing the signing of the NDAA