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.
Obama feels utmost caution should be taken on the subject of capital punishment, and it should be reserved only for ‘heinous crimes’.
“I believe that the death penalty is appropriate in certain circumstances. There are extraordinarily heinous crimes, terrorism, the harm of children, in which it may be appropriate. Obviously we’ve had some problems in this state, in the application of the death penalty and that’s why a moratorium was put in place and that’s why I was so proud to be one of the leaders in making sure that we overhauled it, death penalty system that was broken. For example, passing the first in the nation videotaping of interrogations and confessions in capital cases. We have to have this ultimate sanction for certain circumstances in which the entire community says this is beyond the pale”
October 21, 2004, Illinois State Debate
"While the evidence tells me that the death penalty does little to deter crime, I believe there are some crimes—mass murder, the rape and murder of a child—so heinous, so beyond the pale, that the community is justified in expressing the full measure of its outrage by meting out the ultimate punishment."
Johnson used to firmly believe in the merits capital punishment, even for minors. However, he had a change of heart about a decade ago, chiefly after realizing that the bureaucracy was capable of making mistakes that could cost the life of an innocent.
“If you have committed murder, I happen to believe that you should pay for that with your own life.”
December 9, 2000, The Santa Fe New Mexican (Santa Fe, NM) “I have no plans to render a stay on his execution… Terry Clark committed the crimes that he has been convicted of. I happen to think that's just punishment for him… I will sleep soundly, in regards to Terry Clark. I happen to support the death penalty for individuals who commit these types of crimes.”
August 28, 2001: Johnson, responding to the Associated Press.
Note: Terry Clark who was convicted of kidnapping and raping six-year-old Donita Welch and nine-year-old Dena Lynn Gore. Clark also murdered Gore. Clark was executed by lethal injection on November 6, 2001. Scott Holleran: You state that “no criminal or terrorist suspect captured by the U.S. should be subject to physical or psychological torture.” On what moral grounds should our government be precluded from using torture to protect our nation from foreign enemies that seek to destroy the United States through subversive terrorist activity?
Gary Johnson: I just think that there’s no end to that. Let’s say we know there’s a bomb ticking, so we have to torture this guy - that’s the argument for the death penalty - but the law that gets written also is public policy which allows us to put someone who’s innocent to death. The basis of our country is that we protect the innocent. Are we going to torture people to prevent nuclear briefcase bombs? It amounts to the ends justify the means.
Scott Holleran: You oppose the death penalty. Why?
Gary Johnson: As governor of New Mexico, I was a bit naïve and I did not think the government made mistakes with regard to the death penalty. I came to realize that they do. I don’t want to put one innocent person to death to punish 99 who are guilty.
August 21, 2011: Interview with Gary Johnson by Scott Holleran