The Pronk Pops Show 799, November 18, 2016, Story 1: Trump Selects Senator Session As Attorney General To Enforce The Law Including Immigration, National Security and Public Corruption — Criminal Illegal Aliens and Clintons Getting Out of Dodge — Three Cheers For Senator Sessions — Will Obama Pardon Clinton For Her Many Crimes? Yes — Videos — Story 2: Trump Selects Representative Mike Pompeo As Central Intelligence Agency Director and Lieutenant General Michael T. Flynn As National Security Adviser — Videos — Story 3: Will Trump Offer Mitt Romney The Secretary of State Position? Romney is A Progressive Interventionist, Trump’s First Big Mistake? — Let Romney Cleanup The Mess At The Veterans Administration — Videos

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Story 1: Trump Selects Senator Session As Attorney General To Enforce The Law Including Immigration, National Security and Public Corruption — Criminal Illegal Aliens and Clintons Getting Out of Dodge — Three Cheers For Senator Sessions — Will Obama Pardon Clinton For Her Many Crimes? Yes — Videos —

Image result for cartoons on trump appointments sessionsImage result for trump appointments sessions flynn and Image result for trump select session as attorney generalImage result for trump select session as attorney generalImage result for trump select session as attorney general

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Breaking News: Donald Trump Selects Senator Jeff Sessions for Attorney General

Questions raised about Trump’s choice for attorney general, Senator Jeff Sessions

Senator Jeff Sessions

10 things to know about Sen. Jeff Sessions, Donald Trump’s pick for attorney general

November 18 at 7:45 AM

Trump’s Transition: Who is Jeff Sessions?

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President-elect Donald Trump announced Friday that he plans to nominate Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) as attorney general.(Thomas Johnson/The Washington Post)

In Donald Trump’s world, most roads, it seems, lead back to Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), President-elect Trump’s pick for attorney general.

After Sessions became one of the first members of Congress to endorse Trump this February, he became an adviser on almost every major decision and policy proposal Trump made during the campaign:

–A top Sessions aide helped Trump communicate his immigration policy

–Sessions chaired Trump national security advisory committee

–Sessions advised Trump on who to choose for vice president. (Sessions was also in the running himself for the No. 2 job.)

“The president-elect has been unbelievably impressed with Senator Sessions and his phenomenal record as Alabama’s attorney general and U.S. attorney,” a Trump transition statement released Thursday read. “It is no wonder the people of Alabama re-elected him without opposition.”

In a relatively short time, Sessions has elevated himself from back-bencher to a “arguably one of the top 5 power players in the country now,” said Alabama GOP consultant Brent Buchanan. Here’s crash course in a politician likely to be a pivotal figure in Trump’s administration:

The basics: Sessions has served as a senator from Alabama for two decades. But Alabama is such a loyal state to its top lawmakers that Sessions is actually the junior senator from the state; Sen. Richard Shelby (R) has been in office three decades.

Sessions is popular back home: Aside from his first election in 1996, Sessions has never won with less than 59 percent of the vote. In 2014, he ran unopposed.

His full name is: Jefferson Beauregard “Jeff” Sessions III.

He’s “amnesty’s worst enemy”: The conservative National Review crowned Sessions with that title in 2014, with good reason. Sessions has opposed nearly every immigration bill that has come before the Senate the past two decades that has included a path to citizenship for immigrants in the country illegally.

He’s also fought legal immigration, including guest worker programs for illegal immigrants and visa programs for foreign workers in science, math and high-tech. In 2007, Sessions got a bill passed essentially banning for 10 years federal contractors who hire illegal immigrants.

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“Legal immigration is the primary source of low-wage immigration into the United States,” Sessions argued in a 2015 Washington Post op-ed. “… What we need now is immigration moderation: slowing the pace of new arrivals so that wages can rise, welfare rolls can shrink and the forces of assimilation can knit us all more closely together.”

He’s a debt hawk and a military hawk: Sessions, a lawyer before he became a politician, is known for touring Alabama with charts warning of the United States’ “crippling” debt. On foreign policy, Sessions has advocated a get-tough approach, once voting against an amendment banning “cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment” of prisoners.

These are two positions that could put him at odd with the president he’ll serve: Trump has expensive plans that involve significant spending, like $1 trillion on an infrastructure program — and he campaigned on a strong non-interventionist worldview (often claiming, inaccurately, that he opposed the Iraq War before it started).

He’s a climate change skeptic: Here’s Sessions in a 2015 hearing questioning Environmental Protection Agency’s Gina McCarthy: “Carbon pollution is CO2, and that’s really not a pollutant; that’s a plant food, and it doesn’t harm anybody except that it might include temperature increases.”

Accusations of racism have dogged Sessions’s career: Actually, they almost derailed it. In 1986, a Senate committee denied Sessions, then a 39-year-old U.S. attorney in Alabama, a federal judgeship. His former colleagues testified Sessions used the n-word and joked about the Ku Klux Klan, saying he thought they were “okay, until he learned that they smoked marijuana.”

By the time the testimony was finished, Sessions’s “reputation was in tatters,” wrote Isaac Stanley-Becker in The Post this July, on the eve of Sessions delivering a prime-time speech at the Republican National Convention for Trump.

In 1986, Sessions defended himself against accusations of racism. “I am not the Jeff Sessions my detractors have tried to create,” he told the very same Senate Judiciary Committee he now sits on. “I am not a racist. I am not insensitive to blacks.”

And he told Stanley-Becker this summer: “Racism is totally unacceptable in America. Everybody needs to be treated fairly and objectively.”

But the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Heidi Beirich, who tracks hate speech, said Sessions is guilty of it, and that his mere presence in Trump’s inner circle is “a tragedy for American politics.”

He’s got a populist streak: Here’s one area where he and Trump likely get along swell. Wall Street and corporate executives are often the antagonists in the Alabama senator’s speeches. “A small group of CEOs don’t get to set immigration policy for the country,” he said in a 2014 speech opposing a multi-billion-dollar bill to help control the stem of influx of Central American refugees on the border.

As hard-line as Sessions can be, he’s worked with Democrats before: “Say what you will about him,” former longtime Senate Democratic communications aide Jim Manley told the Almanac of American Politics. “He was always nice to [the late Ted] Kennedy and other Democrats as well.”

Even people who have run against him have nice things to say about him. Stanley-Becker talked to Susan Parker, a Democrat who tried to unseat Sessions in 2002. During a debate, she asked for a tissue and Sessions handed her one. She joked she would use it to dry her eyes when Sessions made her cry, and he responded: “Please don’t say that. That’s my nightmare. I promise I’ll be nice.”

Sessions has joined with Democrats to support criminal justice reform legislation like reducing the disparity between sentence time for crack and powder cocaine (although civil rights advocates say more recently he opposed a bipartisan criminal justice reform package that in part reduced federal sentences.) In 2010 he teamed up with Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) on a proposal to put strict limits on non-military federal spending. It fell one vote short of passing.

Sen. Jeff Sessions endorses Donald Trump

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Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) endorsed Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s White House bid during a joint appearance in his home state. (Reuters)

In 2016, he’s gone from fringe to mainstream: Aside from immigration battles, Sessions mostly operated in the background on Capitol Hill. Until 2016. His mix of hard-line immigration position and a populist streak had made him a tea party star and thus a coveted endorsement catch for Republican presidential candidates catering to the tea party. In presidential primary debates, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) would even brag about his ties to Sessions.

In the end, Sessions chose Trump, surprising the political establishment by jumping on stage with him at a rally in February in Madison, Ala., two days before Super Tuesday and donning a “Make America Great Again” hat.

“I told Donald Trump this isn’t a campaign, this is a movement,” Sessions said at the time.

Nine months later, Sessions will be a central figure in transitioning that “movement” into a working government

Will Jeff Sessions Roll Back Civil-Rights Protections?

Donald Trump’s pick for attorney general has a record of hostility toward the federal government’s role in curtailing discrimination on the basis of race, sexuality, and immigration status.

Mike Segar / Reuters


Senator Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III, a man whose views on race once led a Senate committee to deem him unfit for a federal judgeship, is Donald Trump’s choice to head the federal agency that enforces the nation’s civil-rights laws.

In his 1986 confirmation hearing, witnesses testified that Sessions referred to a black attorney as “boy,” described the Voting Rights Act as “intrusive,” attacked the NAACP and ACLU as “un-American” for “forcing civil rights down the throats of people,” joked that he thought the Ku Klux Klan was ok until he found out they smoked marijuana, and referred to a white attorney who took on voting-rights cases as a  “traitor to his race.” As Ryan J. Reilly reported, Sessions also faced allegations that he referred to a Democratic official in Alabama as a nigger.

“It’s unimaginable that Senator Sessions would be the chief law enforcement officer for the nation’s civil rights laws,” said Sherrilyn Ifill, director of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. “This demonstrates that the president-elect is continuing to select individuals for his team that have a demonstrated record of hostility to equal rights and justice, and to civil rights.”

The Justice Department does far more than prosecute federal crimes. It is the primary federal agency responsible for ensuring that Americans’ rights are protected regardless of race, religion, disability, or gender. It ensures that Americans have the right to vote; that they can find a place to live, work, or get an education without discrimination; that local law enforcement agencies do not violate the constitutional rights of the communities they police; and that the nation’s civil-rights laws are defended and preserved in court.

Defenders of Sessions might argue that his racist views may have changed, that he has reformed, that the sins of Sessions’s past should not bear on his future. After all, Sessions has made many statements since in favor of racial egalitarianism, and even said in 2010 that the work of the civil-rights division “provides tremendous benefit to American citizens.”

Yet the evidence that Sessions’s views on law and policy have changed is thin. Since becoming a senator, Sessions has denounced federal efforts to protect the rights of marginalized Americans as intrusive, decried the extension of equal rights to gays and lesbians as a threat to Western civilization, and fought to preserve punitive laws in the face of a bipartisan trend toward criminal-justice reform. Sessions’s selection as attorney general augurs an era in which the federal agency charged with protecting the rights of women, ethnic and religious minorities, and LGBT Americans will be led by a man who has been openly skeptical of, if not opposed, to  its past efforts to do so. Which means that Sessions’s tenure as attorney general could leave some of the most vulnerable Americans defenseless, should he conclude that the civil-rights laws that protect them are not worth enforcing.

The choice of Sessions, a hardliner who has long criticized the Obama administration’s immigration policy as too lenient and opposed the bipartisan Senate immigration reform bill, also suggests that Trump has every intention of engaging in the massive crackdown on immigration he advertised during his campaign.

“The attorney general occupies the most important law-enforcement role in the nation and, as such, must be someone committed to equal justice under law for all,” said Kristen Clarke, president of the Lawyer’s Committee for Civil Rights. “There were questions about [Sessions] ability to be fair and impartial on the bench back then and those questions remain today.”

Under President George W. Bush, the political appointees to the Justice Department’s civil-rights division were found in an internal investigation to have violated civil-service laws by considering partisan affiliation in hiring. The head of the division, Bradley Schlozman, declared his intent in an email to “gerrymander those crazy libs out of the section,” referring to the part of the division that enforces voting rights. He wanted to replace them with “real Americans” and “right-thinking Americans.” A 2009 report from the Government Accountability Office found a “significant drop in the enforcement of several major antidiscrimination and voting rights laws.” While civil-rights enforcement lagged, many of the division’s lawyers were instead compelled by the Bush leadership to work deportation cases.

Under the Obama administration, enforcement of the nation’s civil-rights laws again became a top priority, with the division taking on the racially discriminatory financial practices that lead to the 2008 financial crisis, more forcefully enforcing and defending votingrights laws, and moving against anti-LGBT discrimination, particularly in schools.

Jeff Sessions

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jeff Sessions
Jeff Sessions official portrait.jpg
United States Attorney General
Taking office
January 20, 2017*
President Donald Trump(Elect)
Succeeding Loretta Lynch
United States Senator
from Alabama
Assumed office
January 3, 1997
Serving with Richard Shelby
Preceded by Howell Heflin
44th Attorney General of Alabama
In office
January 16, 1995 – January 3, 1997
Governor Fob James
Preceded by Jimmy Evans
Succeeded by Bill Pryor
United States Attorney for the Southern District of Alabama
In office
Appointed by Ronald Reagan
Preceded by William Kimbrough, Jr.
Succeeded by Don Foster
Personal details
Born Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III
December 24, 1946 (age 69)
Selma, Alabama, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Mary Blackshear
Children 3
Alma mater Huntingdon College(BA)
University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa(JD)
Religion United Methodist
Website Senate website
Military service
Allegiance  United States
Service/branch  United States Army
Years of service 1973–1977
Rank US military captain's rank.gifCaptain
Unit 1184th United States Army Transportation Terminal Unit
United States Army Reserve
*Pending Senate confirmation

Jefferson BeauregardJeffSessions III (born December 24, 1946) is the juniorUnited States Senator from Alabama. First elected in 1996, Sessions is a member of the Republican Party.

From 1981 to 1993 he served as U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Alabama. Sessions was elected Attorney General of Alabama in 1994, and to the U.S. Senate in 1996, being re-elected in 2002, 2008, and 2014. Sessions was ranked by National Journal in 2007 as the fifth-most conservative U.S. Senator, siding strongly with the Republican Party on political issues. He supported the major legislative efforts of the George W. Bush administration, including the 2001 and 2003 tax cut packages, the Iraq War, and a proposed national amendment to ban same-sex marriage. He was one of 25 senators to oppose the establishment of the Troubled Asset Relief Program. He has opposed the Democratic leadership since 2007 on most major legislation, including the stimulus bill, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repeal Act. As the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, he opposed all three of President Barack Obama’s nominees for the Supreme Court.

Sessions was considered as a possible running mate for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump in the 2016 election, but Mike Pence of Indiana was ultimately selected for the ticket. On November 18, 2016, the transition team announced via press release that President-elect Trump had picked Sessions as his designee for Attorney General.

Early life and education

Sessions was born in Hybart, Alabama[1] on December 24, 1946, the son of Jefferson Beauregard Sessions, Jr and Abbie Powe.[2] His father owned a general store in Hybart, Alabama and then a farm equipment dealership. Both of Sessions’ parents were of primarily English ancestry, with some Scots-Irish.[3][4] In 1964, Sessions became an Eagle Scout and earned the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award. [5]

After attending school in nearby Camden, Sessions studied at Huntingdon College in Montgomery, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1969. He was active in the Young Republicans and was student body president.[6] Sessions attended the University of Alabama School of Law and graduated with his J.D. in 1973.[7]

Sessions entered private practice in Russellville and later in Mobile,[8] where he now lives.[9] He also served in the Army Reserve in the 1970s, achieving the rank of captain.[8]

Sessions and his wife Mary have three children and six grandchildren.[10]

Political career

U.S. Attorney

Sessions was an Assistant United States Attorney in the Office of the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Alabama beginning in 1975. In 1981, President Reagan nominated Sessions to be the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Alabama. The Senate confirmed him and he held that position for 12 years.[8]

Failed nomination to the district court

In 1986, Reagan nominated Sessions to be a judge of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Alabama.[11] Sessions’s judicial nomination was recommended and actively backed by Republican Alabama Senator Jeremiah Denton.[12] A substantial majority of the American Bar Association Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary, which rates nominees to the federal bench, rated Sessions “qualified,” with a minority voting that Sessions was “not qualified”.[13]

At Sessions’ confirmation hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee, four Department of Justice lawyers who had worked with Sessions testified that he had made several racist statements. One of those lawyers, J. Gerald Hebert, testified that Sessions had referred to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People(NAACP) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) as “un-American” and “Communist-inspired” because they “forced civil rights down the throats of people”.[14]

Thomas Figures, a black Assistant U.S. Attorney, testified that Sessions said he thought the Ku Klux Klan was “OK until I found out they smoked pot“. Sessions later said that the comment was not serious, but did apologize for it.[15] Figures also testified that on one occasion, when the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division sent the office instructions to investigate a case that Sessions had tried to close, Figures and Sessions “had a very spirited discussion regarding how the Hodge case should then be handled; in the course of that argument, Mr. Sessions threw the file on a table, and remarked, ‘I wish I could decline on all of them,'” by which Figures said Sessions meant civil rights cases generally. After becoming Ranking Member of the Judiciary Committee, Sessions was asked in an interview about his civil rights record as a U.S Attorney. He denied that he had not sufficiently pursued civil rights cases, saying that “when I was [a U.S. Attorney], I signed 10 pleadings attacking segregation or the remnants of segregation, where we as part of the Department of Justice, we sought desegregation remedies”.[16]

Figures also said that Sessions had called him “boy.”[11] He also testified that “Mr. Sessions admonished me to ‘be careful what you say to white folks.'”[17] In 1992, Figures was indicted by a federal grand jury with attempting to bribe a witness by offering a $50,000 to a convicted drug dealer who was to testify against his client. Figures claimed the indictment was in retaliation for his role in blocking Sessions nomination.[18]Sessions was also reported to have called a white civil rights attorney a “disgrace to his race.”[19]

Sessions responded to the testimony by denying the allegations, saying his remarks were taken out of context or meant in jest, and also stating that groups could be considered un-American when “they involve themselves in un-American positions” on foreign policy. Sessions said during testimony that he considered the Klan to be “a force for hatred and bigotry.” In regards to the marijuana quote, Sessions said the comment was a joke but apologized.[15]

In response to a question from Joe Biden on whether he had called the NAACP and other civil rights organizations “un-American”, Sessions replied “I’m often loose with my tongue. I may have said something about the NAACP being un-American or Communist, but I meant no harm by it.”[13]

On June 5, 1986, the Committee voted 10–8 against recommending the nomination to the Senate floor, with Republican Senators Charles Mathias of Maryland and Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania voting with the Democrats. It then split 9–9 on a vote to send Sessions’ nomination to the Senate floor with no recommendation, this time with Specter in support. A majority was required for the nomination to proceed.[20] The pivotal votes against Sessions came from his home state’s Democratic Senator Howell Heflin of Alabama. Although Heflin had previously backed Sessions, he began to oppose Sessions after hearing testimony, concluding that there were “reasonable doubts” over Sessions’ ability to be “fair and impartial.” The nomination was withdrawn on July 31, 1986.[13]

Sessions became only the second nominee to the federal judiciary in 48 years whose nomination was killed by the Senate Judiciary Committee.[15] He was quoted then as saying that the Senate on occasion had been insensitive to the rights and reputation of nominees.[21][22] A law clerk from the U.S. District Court in Mobile who had worked with Sessions later acknowledged the confirmation controversy, but stated that he observed Sessions as “a lawyer of the highest ethical and intellectual standards.”[23]

After joining the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sessions remarked that his presence there, alongside several of the members who voted against him, was a “great irony.”[21] When Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania left the GOP to join the Democratic Party on April 28, 2009, Sessions was selected to be the Ranking Member on the Senate Judiciary Committee. At that time, Specter said that his vote against Sessions’ nomination was a mistake, because he had “since found that Sen. Sessions is egalitarian.”[24]

Alabama Attorney General and U.S. Senate

Sessions speaking at a campaign event for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump on August 31, 2016.

Sessions was elected Attorney General of Alabama in November 1994, unseating incumbent Democrat Jimmy Evans with 57% of the vote. In 1996, Sessions won the Republican primary for U.S. Senate, after a runoff, and then defeated Democrat Roger Bedford 53%–46% in the November general election.[6] He succeeded Howell Heflin, who had retired after 18 years in the Senate. In 2002, Sessions won reelection by defeating Democratic State Auditor Susan Parker. In 2008, Sessions defeated Democratic State SenatorVivian Davis Figures (sister-in-law of Thomas Figures, the Assistant U.S. Attorney who testified at Sessions’ judicial confirmation hearing) to win a third term. Sessions received 63 percent of the vote to Figures’ 37 percent. Sessions successfully sought a fourth term in 2014[25] and was uncontested in both the Republican primary and the general election.[26][27]

Sessions was only the second freshman Republican senator from Alabama since Reconstruction and gave Alabama two Republican senators, a first since Reconstruction. He was easily reelected in 2002, becoming the first Republican reelected to the Senate from Alabama since Reconstruction (given that his colleague Richard Shelby, who won reelection as a Republican in 1998, had previously run as a Democrat, switching parties in 1994).[26]

2016 presidential election

Sessions was an early supporter of the presidential candidacy of Donald Trump, and was a major policy adviser to the Trump campaign, especially in regard to immigration and national security.[28] Sessions donned a “Make America Great Again” cap at a Trump rally in August 2015, and Stephen Miller, Sessions’s longtime-communications director, joined the Trump campaign.[29] On February 28, 2016, Sessions officially endorsed Donald Trump for president. The Trump campaign considered Sessions for the position of running mate, and Sessions was widely seen as a potential Cabinet secretary in a Trump administration.[28] After winning the presidential election, Trump announced that he would nominate Sessions to be Attorney General, succeeding Loretta Lynch.[30]

Political positions

U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions addressing voters in 2011.

Sessions was ranked by National Journal as the fifth-most conservative U.S. Senator in their March 2007 Conservative/Liberal Rankings.[31] He backs conservative Republican stances on foreign policy, taxes, and social issues. He opposes abortion and illegal immigration.

Sessions is the ranking Republican member on the Senate Budget Committee,[32] a former ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and a senior member of the Armed Services Committee. He also serves on the Environment and Public Works Committee.

Sessions was a supporter of the “nuclear option,” a tactic considered by then-Senate Majority LeaderBill Frist in the spring of 2005 to change longstanding Senate rules to stop Democratic filibusters (or, “talking a bill to death”) of some of George W. Bush’s nominees to the federal courts. When the “Gang of 14” group of moderate Senators reached an agreement to allow filibusters under “extraordinary circumstances,” Sessions accepted the agreement but argued that “a return to the tradition of up-or-down votes on all judicial nominees would… strengthen the Senate.”[33]

Sessions is a signer of Americans for Tax Reform’s Taxpayer Protection Pledge.[34]

Foreign and military policy

Senator Sessions speaks during Army Aviation Association of America (AAAA) 2012 in Nashville, TN

In 2005, Sessions spoke at a rally in Washington, D.C. in favor of the War in Iraq that was held in opposition to an anti-war protest held the day before. Sessions said of the anti-war protesters: “The group who spoke here the other day did not represent the American ideals of freedom, liberty and spreading that around the world. I frankly don’t know what they represent, other than to blame America first.”[35]

In the 109th Congress, Sessions introduced legislation to increase the death gratuity benefit for families of servicemembers from $12,420 to $100,000.[36] The bill also increased the level of coverage under the Servicemen’s Group Life Insurance from $250,000 to $400,000. Sessions’ legislation was accepted in the Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2005.[37]

Sessions was one of only three senators to vote against additional funding for the VA medical system. He opposed the bill due to cost concerns and indicated that Congress should instead focus on “reforms and solutions that improve the quality of service and the effectiveness that is delivered.”[38]

Crime and security

Senator Sessions and Indiana Governor/VP candidate Mike Pence at an immigration policy speech in Phoenix, Arizona in August 2016

On October 5, 2005, he was one of nine Senators who voted against a Senate amendment to a House bill that prohibited cruel, inhumane, or degrading treatment or punishment of individuals in the custody or under the physical control of the United States Government.[39]

Sessions has taken a strong stand against any form of citizenship for undocumented immigrants. Sessions was one of the most vocal critics of the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2007. He is a supporter of E-Verify, the federal database that allows businesses to electronically verify the immigration status of potential new hires,[40] and has advocated for expanded construction of a Southern border fence.[41] In 2013, Sessions claimed that an opt-out provision in immigration legislation before Congress would allow Sec. Janet Napolitano to skip building a border fence. PolitiFact called the claim “False,” stating that the provision would allow Napolitano to determine where the fence was built, but not opt out of building it entirely.[42]

In November 2010, Sessions was a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee when the committee voted unanimously in favor of the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act, and sent the bill to the full Senate for consideration.[43] The proposed law would allow the Attorney General to ask a court to issue a restraining order on Internet domain names that host copyright-infringing material.[43]

Sessions has been a strong supporter of civil forfeiture, the government practice of seizing property when it has allegedly been involved in a crime.[44] Sessions opposes “any reform” of civil forfeiture legislation.[45]

Economic issues

Sessions voted for the 2001 and 2003 Bush tax cuts, and said he would vote to make them permanent if given the chance.[46]

In 2006, Sessions received the “Guardian of Small Business” award from the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB),[47] an honor that the organization bestows upon legislators who vote in accord with its stance on small business issues at least 70% of the time.[48] He was recognized by the NFIB again in 2008[49] and 2010;[48] in 2014 the organization endorsed him in his run for a fourth term, noting that he had achieved a 100% NFIB voting record on key issues for small businesses in the 112th Congress.[50]

He voted for an amendment to the 2008 budget resolution, offered by Republican Senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina, which would have placed a one-year moratorium on the practice of earmarking.[citation needed]

Sessions was one of 25 senators to vote against the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 (the bank bailout), arguing that it “undermines our heritage of law and order, and is an affront to the principle of separation of powers.”[51]

Sessions opposed the $837 billion stimulus bill, calling it “the largest spending bill in the history of the republic.”[52] In late 2011 he also expressed skepticism about the $447 billion jobs bill proposed by President Obama, and disputed the notion that the bill would be paid for without adding to the national debt.[53]

Higher education and research

In 2013, Sessions sent a letter to National Endowment for the Humanities enquiring why the foundation funded projects that he deemed frivolous.[54] He also criticized the foundation for distributing books related to Islam to hundreds of U.S. libraries, saying “Using taxpayer dollars to fund education program grant questions that are very indefinite or in an effort to seemingly use Federal funds on behalf of just one religion, does not on its face appear to be the appropriate means to establish confidence in the American people that NEH expenditures are wise.”[55]

Social issues

As Attorney General of Alabama, Sessions worked to deny funding to student Gay-Straight Alliances at Auburn University and The University of South Alabama, stating “an organization that professes to be comprised of homosexuals and/or lesbians may not receive state funding or use state-supported facilities to foster or promote those illegal, *1551 sexually deviate activities defined in the sodomy and sexual misconduct laws.” [56]The U.S. District court ruled against these actions as a violation of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.

Sessions has been an opponent of same-sex marriage and has earned a zero rating from the Human Rights Campaign, the United States’ largest LGBTQ advocacy group.[57] He voted against the Matthew Shepard Act, which added acts of bias-motivated violence based on sexual orientation and gender identity to federal hate-crimes law,[58] Sessions voted in favor of advancing the Federal Marriage Amendment in 2004 and 2006, a U.S. constitutional amendment which would have permanently restricted federal recognition of marriage to those between a man and a woman.[58] Sessions voted against the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repeal Act of 2010.[59]

Sessions has also said regarding the appointment of a gay Supreme Court justice, “I do not think that a person who acknowledges that they have gay tendencies is disqualified, per se, for the job”[60] but “that would be a big concern that the American people might feel—might feel uneasy about that.”[61]

Sessions is against legalizing cannabis for either recreational or medicinal use. “I’m a big fan of the DEA”, he said during a hearing with the Senate Judiciary Committee.[62] Sessions was “heartbroken” and found “it beyond comprehension” when President Obama claimed that cannabis is not as dangerous as alcohol.[63]

Jeff Sessions speaking at the Values Voter Summit in Washington, D.C.

Sessions is pro-life and was one of 37 Senators to vote against funding for embryonic stem cell research.[64]

Health care reform

Sessions opposed President Barack Obama’s health reform legislation; he voted against the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in December 2009,[65] and he voted against the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010.[66]

Following Senator Ted Cruz‘s 21-hour speech opposing the Affordable Care Act, Sessions joined Cruz and 17 other Senators in a failed vote against cloture on a comprehensive government funding bill that would have continued funding healthcare reform.[67]

Energy and environment

Sessions is skeptical of the scientific consensus on climate change.[68] He has voted in favor of legislation that would bar the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse gases.[69] Sessions is a proponent of nuclear power, and has voted to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling.[citation needed] The League of Conservation Voters, a pro-environment advocacy group, gave him a lifetime score of 7%.[70]


Sessions is a staunch opponent of marijuana legalization. In April 2016, he said that it was important to foster “knowledge that this drug is dangerous, you cannot play with it, it is not funny, it’s not something to laugh about… and to send that message with clarity that good people don’t smoke marijuana.”[71]

Supreme Court nominations

While serving as the ranking member on the Judiciary Committee in the 110th Congress, Sessions was the senior Republican who questioned Judge Sonia Sotomayor, President Barack Obama‘s nominee to succeed retiring Justice David Souter. Sessions focused on Sotomayor’s views on empathy as a quality for a judge, arguing that “empathy for one party is always prejudice against another.”[72] Sessions also questioned the nominee about her views on the use of foreign law in deciding cases,[73] as well as her role in the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund (PRLDEF). On July 28, 2009, Sessions joined five Republican colleagues in voting against Sotomayor’s nomination in the Judiciary Committee. The committee approved Sotomayor by a vote of 13–6.[74] Sessions also voted against Sotomayor when her nomination came before the full Senate. He was one of 31 senators (all Republicans) to do so, while 68 voted to confirm the nominee.[75]

Sessions also served as the ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee during the nomination process for Elena Kagan, President Obama’s nominee to succeed retired Justice John Paul Stevens. Sessions based his opposition on the nominee’s lack of experience, her background as a political operative (Kagan had said that she worked in the Clinton White House not as a lawyer but as a policy adviser[76]), and her record on guns, abortion, and gay rights. Sessions pointed out that Kagan “has a very thin record legally, never tried a case, never argued before a jury, only had her first appearance in the appellate courts a year ago.”[77]

Sessions focused the majority of his criticism on Kagan’s treatment of the military while she was dean of Harvard Law School. During her tenure, Kagan reinstated the practice of requiring military recruiters to coordinate their activities through a campus veterans organization, rather than the school’s Office of Career Services. Kagan argued that she was trying to comply with a law known as the Solomon Amendment, which barred federal funds from any college or university that did not grant military recruiters equal access to campus facilities. Sessions asserted that Kagan’s action was a violation of the Solomon Amendment and that it amounted to “demeaning and punishing the military.”[78] He also argued that her action showed a willingness to place her politics above the law.[78]

On July 20, 2010, Sessions and five Republican colleagues voted against Kagan’s nomination. Despite this, the Judiciary Committee approved the nomination by a 13–6 vote. Sessions also voted against Kagan in the full Senate vote, joining 36 other senators (including one Democrat) in opposition. 63 senators voted to confirm Kagan. Following the vote, Sessions remarked on future nominations and elections, saying that Americans would “not forgive the Senate if we further expose our Constitution to revision and rewrite by judicial fiat to advance what President Obama says is a broader vision of what America should be.”[79]

Following the death of Justice Antonin Scalia in February 2016, Sessions refused to consider any nominee for the position. Sessions maintained his opposition after President Obama nominated D.C. Circuit judge Merrick Garland, joining other Republican Senators in delaying a Supreme Court hearing until the inauguration of a new president.[80]


On December 11, 2013, Sessions cosponsored the Victims of Child Abuse Act Reauthorization Act of 2013 (S. 1799; 113th Congress), a bill that would reauthorize the Victims of Child Abuse Act of 1990 and would authorize funding through 2018 to help child abuse victims.[81] Sessions argued that “there is no higher duty than protecting our nation’s children, and this bill is an important step to ensure the most vulnerable children receive the care and support they deserve.”[81]

Political contributors

During his career, Sessions’ largest donors have come from the legal, health, real estate, and insurance industries.[82] From 2005 to 2010, the corporations employing donors who gave the most to his campaign were the Southern Company utility firm, Balch & Bingham law firm, Harbert Management investment firm, Drummond Company coal mining firm, and WPP Group, a UK-based communications services company.[83]

Committee assignments

Electoral history

United States Senate election in Alabama, 2014[85]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Jeff Sessions (Incumbent) 795,606 97.25
Write-ins Other 22,484 2.75
Total votes 818,090 100
Alabama U.S. Senate Republican Primary Election – 2008
Party Candidate Votes % +%
Republican Jeff Sessions* 199,690 92.27
Republican Zach McCann 16,718 7.73
Alabama U.S. Senate Election – 2008
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Jeff Sessions* 1,305,383 63.36 + 4.78
Democratic Vivian Davis Figures 752,391 36.52
Write-ins 2,417 0.12
Alabama U.S. Senate Election – 2002
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Jeff Sessions* 792,561 58.58 + 6.13
Democratic Susan Parker 538,878 39.83
Libertarian Jeff Allen 20,234 1.50
Write-ins 1,350 0.10
Alabama U.S. Senate Republican Primary Election – 1996
Party Candidate Votes % +%
Republican Jeff Sessions 82,373 37.81
Republican Sid McDonald 47,320 21.72
Republican Charles Woods 24,409 11.20
Republican Frank McRight 21,964 10.08
Republican Walter D. Clark 18,745 8.60
Republican Jimmy Blake 15,385 7.06
Republican Albert Lipscomb 7,672 3.52
Alabama U.S. Senate Republican Primary Runoff Election – 1996
Party Candidate Votes % +%
Republican Jeff Sessions 81,681 59.26
Republican Sid McDonald 56,156 40.74
Alabama U.S. Senate Election – 1996
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Jeff Sessions 786,436 52.45
Democratic Roger Bedford 681,651 45.46
Libertarian Mark Thornton 21,550 1.44
Natural Law Charles R. Hebner 9,123 0.61
Write-ins Write-ins 633 0.04


Alabama Attorney General Election – 1994
Party Candidate Votes % +%
Republican Jeff Sessions 667,010 56.87
Democrat Jimmy Evans* 505,137 43.07
Write-ins Write-ins 660 0.00

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Donald Trump Picks Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn As National Security Advisor

Lieutenant General Michael T. Flynn

LT Flynn spoke to a packed crowd of Young America’s Foundation’s students and supporters at the Trump Hotel in Washington, D.C. to celebrate freedom.

“Field of Fight” with Ret. Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn

He was one of the most respected intel officers of his generation. Now he’s leading ‘Lock her up’ chants.

In campaign appearances for Donald Trump, retired Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn has cast the presidential race as a continuation of the career he spent battling dangerous enemies in distant wars.

“The enemy camp in this case is Hillary Rodham Clinton,” he said at a rally in Florida this month, pointing his thumbs down in disgust. “This is a person who does not know the difference between a lie and the truth. . . . She is somebody who will leave Americans behind on the battlefield.”

As chants of “Lock her up!” rose from the crowd, Flynn nodded with enthusiasm and said he was “so proud, standing up here, to be an American.”

It was a jarring moment in a race full of them — a retired three-star general comparing a presidential candidate to the al-Qaeda militants he faced in Afghanistan and Iraq, calling for a former senator and secretary of state to be imprisoned.

The appearance was only the latest eyebrow-raising episode involving Flynn, 56, who was one of the most respected military intelligence officers of his generation but who has spurned the decorum traditionally expected of retired U.S. flag officers and become the only national security figure of his rank and experience to publicly align himself with Trump, the Republican nominee.

The unruly 2016 campaign has drawn dozens of former senior national security officials into the fray, including 50 who served Republican presidents and who this month signed a lettersaying Trump “lacks the character, values and experience” to be president. Denunciations of Trump from retired Marine Gen. John Allen — who spoke at the Democratic National Convention — and former acting CIA director Michael J. Morell struck some as compromising their former institutions’ apolitical role in American democracy.

But Flynn, who vaulted to public attention with his speech at the Republican National Convention last month, has rattled even some of his most long-standing colleagues, engaging in harsh, partisan rhetoric that, to his critics, seems to clash with the principles and values he spent a career defending.

He has called President Obama a “liar,” declared the U.S. justice system “corrupt” and insisted that he was pushed out of his assignment as director of the Defense Intelligence Agency because of his views on radical Islam. The claim has left former superiors seething, including Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr., according to current and former officials who said Flynn was removed because of management problems.

Like Trump, Flynn has advocated forging closer ties with Russia. In interviews with The Washington Post, Flynn acknowledged being paid to give a speech and attend a lavish anniversary party for the Kremlin-controlled RT television network in Moscow last year, where he was seated next to Russian President Vladi­mir Putin.

“People went crazy,” said retired Brig. Gen. Peter B. Zwack, a former U.S. military attache in Moscow. “They thought it was so out of bounds, so unusual.” Zwack emphasized that he considers Flynn a “patriot” who “would never sell out his country.”

Flynn, who was no longer in government but received a DIA briefing on Russia before the trip, said the invitation and payment came through his speaker’s bureau. He said he used the visit to press for collaboration on Syria, Iran and the Middle East, and dismissed the ensuing controversy as “boring.” Asked why he would want to be so closely associated with a Kremlin propaganda platform, Flynn said he sees no distinction between RT and other news outlets.

“What’s CNN? What’s MSNBC? Come on!” said Flynn, who also has appeared occasionally as an unpaid on-air analyst for RT and other foreign broadcasters.

Dismayed by Flynn’s behavior since he left the military, former colleagues have contacted him to urge him to show more restraint. Among them are retired Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, who relied heavily on Flynn in Iraq and Afghanistan, and retired Adm. Michael Mullen, a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. McChrystal declined to comment for this article.

Mullen provided a written statement saying that “for retired senior officers to take leading and vocal roles as clearly partisan figures is a violation of the ethos and professionalism of apolitical military service.” Officers are sworn to execute orders without regard for political positions, an oath to the Constitution that “is inviolable and presidents must never question it or doubt it,” he said.

Flynn and Allen “have violated this principle and confused that clarity,” Mullen said. “This is not about the right to speak out, it is about the disappointing lack of judgment in doing so for crass partisan purposes. This is made worse by using hyperbolic language all the while leveraging the respected title of ‘general.’ ”

Allen noted that retired U.S. military officers have frequently taken public positions in presidential campaigns, including a number of recent chairmen, and that he did so out of concern with Trump’s calls for resuming the use of torture, killing families of terrorism suspects and mass-bombing cities in Syria.

“Retired senior officers should not take lightly the impact of public commentary in a political environment,” Allen said. “I chose to do so because I believe that Trump was proposing policies and orders to the U.S. military as a potential Commander in Chief, which I believed would create a civil-military crisis. This is a matter of conscience for me, because in moments of crisis such as these, credible voices must speak out.”

In interviews, Flynn said he respects his former superiors but rejected their entreaties as attempts to silence him and impinge on his free speech rights. “When someone says, ‘You’re a general, so you have to shut up,’ ” he said, “I say, ‘Do I have to stop being an American?’ ”

Flynn dismisses his critics as closet Clinton supporters or misguided colleagues who have put their pursuit of corporate board seats and lucrative consulting contracts ahead of their concern for the country. Most retired generals “are afraid to speak out,” he said, because they use their stars “for themselves, for their businesses.”

Flynn said his foray into politics began last year when he volunteered to advise five Republican candidates. He said that he first met Trump 11 months ago and that he spoke with him by phone several times before being asked to speak at the Republican convention.

Trump is a “very serious guy. Good listener. Asked really good questions,” he said. Flynn’s role in the campaign has yet to be defined. He said he has never met with Trump’s foreign policy adviser, Carter Page, and has not been promised any position if the real estate developer wins.

Flynn’s credentials and backing of Trump have fueled speculation that he could be in line for a high-level national security job if Trump is elected. He was briefly considered a potential Trump running mate before the candidate picked Indiana Gov. Mike Pence.

Rather than scaling back, Flynn, a registered Democrat, has become an avid campaigner for Trump whose views and impulses increasingly echo those of the Republican candidate.

He sees the nation as beset by darkness and corruption, with voters split between “centrist nationalists” and “socialists.”

The divide has weakened the nation’s ability to grasp what he considers an existential threat from “a diseased component” of Islam. “There’s something going on in the Muslim world,” he said. “Why do we have heightened security at our airports? It’s not because the Catholic Church is falling apart.”

Flynn’s sudden political prominence represents a departure from a 33-year military career spent largely in the shadowy realm of military intelligence and Special Operations missions. Former colleagues said they could not recall Flynn ever discussing politics while in uniform or voicing the views he has embraced since his career came to an abrupt end.

The son of a World War II and Korean War veteran, Flynn was one of nine children in a close-knit Irish family in Rhode Island. His brother Charlie is a two-star general in the Army.

Flynn’s early years in uniform coincided with the end of the Cold War, but he made his mark after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, as an intense officer with a string of important intelligence assignments.

He has held senior positions in the 18th Airborne Corps, at the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Pentagon and at U.S. Central Command, which runs U.S. military operations in the Middle East. Throughout his career, he was viewed as a charismatic and unconventional officer with a talent for mapping terrorist networks — qualities prized by superiors. But his hard-charging approach was at times considered disruptive or undisciplined.

He is best known for his integral role in the lethal machine that McChrystal assembled in Iraq to eviscerate the al-Qaeda affiliate there. Together, they perfected an approach known as “find, fix, finish” that relied on the elite Joint Special Operations Command to carry out raids and then used intelligence from captured militants and materials to identify new targets at a blistering tempo.

When McChrystal was put in charge of the war in Afghanistan, he tapped Flynn again to serve as his top intelligence officer. Flynn used that job to position himself as a gifted strategist, helping to co-write a 26-page article, “Fixing Intel,” that depicted the intelligence-gathering mission in Afghanistan as a failing endeavor that was too focused on finding targets rather than understanding cultural complexities. Some in the military praised the article as insightful, but critics considered it grandstanding at the expense of his predecessors.

Some of Flynn’s other moves angered superiors. Former U.S. officials said he was scolded after traveling to Pakistan in 2009 or early 2010 and revealing to Pakistani officials sensitive U.S. intelligence on the militant Haqqani network accused of staging attacks on American forces. U.S. officials said that the move was aimed at prodding Pakistan to crack down on the militant group, but that Flynn exposed U.S. intelligence capabilities that only helped Pakistan protect an organization it used as a proxy ally.

Flynn also came under investigation by the Pentagon because of an allegation that he had inappropriately shared highly classified intelligence with Australian and British forces. “I’m proud of that one,” Flynn said in an interview. “Accuse me of sharing intelligence in combat with our closest allies. Please!”

The inquiry delayed but did not derail Flynn’s ascent through the ranks. Always pushing for a deeper understanding of terrorist networks, Flynn persuaded Clapper in 2011 to let him form a team to reexamine the materials recovered from bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan, searching for clues overlooked by the CIA. In 2012, Obama tapped him for one of the highest positions a military intelligence officer can attain, running the Defense Intelligence Agency.

Flynn arrived with a mandate for change. He began trying to reorganize the agency into regionally focused centers, station more analysts overseas and build a spying capability that could rival that of the CIA. In public remarks, he warned any employees who resisted his agenda that he would “move them or fire them.”

Almost from the outset there were concerns at the Pentagon that Flynn was struggling to execute his reform plans and that the agency was beset by turmoil. A career staff officer, Flynn had little experience running a large organization, let alone a plodding institution such as the DIA, with nearly 20,000 employees.

Former subordinates at the DIA said Flynn was so prone to dubious pronouncements that senior aides coined a term — “Flynn facts” — for assertions that seemed questionable or inaccurate.

The DIA job is ordinarily a three-year assignment. But early in Flynn’s second year, his bosses — Clapper and then-Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence Michael G. Vickers — summoned him to a meeting at the Pentagon to tell him that he was being removed.

As the search for a replacement stalled, Flynn attempted an end-run around his superiors, appealing directly to the vice chief of staff of the Army to extend his tenure. The move infuriated Clapper, according to former officials who said the DNI warned Flynn that if he made any other attempt to circumvent the outcome he would be fired on the spot. Clapper declined to comment for this article, but several current and former officials confirmed the account.

Flynn disputed the account as well as the claim that he had shared sensitive intelligence with Pakistan, saying in an email that the claims are “all false.”

He characterizes his ouster as a political purge orchestrated by an administration unwilling to heed the warnings he was sounding about militant Islam. Asked for evidence, he said, “I just know!” adding that Clapper had once told him that the issue behind Flynn’s ouster was “not your leadership, or I would have removed you right away.”

The decision to remove Flynn was “about turbulence and a destructive climate,” said a former senior U.S. intelligence official. “I don’t think anybody in the administration was even aware of his views” on radical Islam.

Flynn’s positions have become more strident since he left DIA and are increasingly aimed at Obama. He said he is “sick and tired” of the president taking credit for approving the 2011 mission that led to the death of bin Laden. “This decision to kill bin Laden . . . so what?!” he said. “What did it really do?”

Once firmly against waterboarding and other banned interrogation measures, Flynn now appears at least willing to consider supporting Trump’s threat to reinstate those methods, saying he would be reluctant to take options off the table. Asked on Al Jazeera in May whether he would allow the military to carry out Trump’s threat to kill any families of suspected terrorists, Flynn replied, “I would have to see the circumstances of that situation.”

In February, Flynn posted a video about a Pakistani terrorist group on his Twitter account with the comment: “Fear of Muslims is RATIONAL.”

His views are difficult to reconcile with some of the prescriptions for fighting terrorism that he outlines in a recent book, “The Field of Fight: How We Can Win the Global War Against Radical Islam and Its Allies,” that he co-wrote with neoconservative analyst Michael Ledeen.

In the book, Flynn argues that the United States needs new partnerships with Middle Eastern countries and a deeper understanding of radical ideology. He said Egypt, Jordan, Qatar and Saudi Arabia should shoulder more of the responsibility for ridding themselves of terrorists, accept more Syrian refugees and deploy troops in Syria.

Asked whether his comments about Islam or Trump’s behavior — threatening to ban Muslims from entering the United States, vilifying the parents of a fallen Muslim American soldier — might alienate those potential Middle East partners, Flynn said, “I don’t see it that way. I see a lot of Muslims who actually want this conversation. They want this point to be made.”

Greg Jaffe and Julie Tate contributed to this report.


Michael T. Flynn

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
For other people named Michael Flynn, see Michael Flynn (disambiguation).
Mike Flynn
Michael T Flynn.jpg
National Security Advisor
Taking office
January 20, 2017
President Donald Trump(Elect)
Succeeding Susan Rice
Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency
In office
July 24, 2012 – August 7, 2014
President Barack Obama
Preceded by Ronald Burgess
Succeeded by David Shedd(Acting)
Personal details
Born Michael Thomas Flynn
December 1958 (age 57)
Middletown, Rhode Island, U.S.
Political party Republican
Alma mater University of Rhode Island, Kingston(BS)
Golden Gate University(MBA)
United States Army Command and General Staff College(MMAS)
Naval War College(MA)
Website Official website
Military service
Allegiance  United States
Service/branch  United States Army
Years of service 1981–2014
Rank US-O9 insignia.svgLieutenant General
Unit Defense Intelligence Agency
Joint Functional Component Command for Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance
Battles/wars Operation Urgent Fury
Operation Uphold Democracy
Operation Enduring Freedom
Operation Iraqi Freedom
Awards Defense Meritorious Service Medal
Defense Superior Service Medal(2 oak leaf clusters)
Legion of Merit(oak leaf cluster)
Bronze Star Medal(3 oak leaf clusters)
Meritorious Service Medal(5 oak leaf clusters)
Joint Service Commendation Medal
Army Commendation Medal(5 oak leaf clusters)

Michael Thomas “Mike” Flynn[1] (born December 1958) is a retired United States Armylieutenant general[2][3] who served as the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, commander of the Joint Functional Component Command for Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance, and chair of the Military Intelligence Board from July 24, 2012, to August 2, 2014.[4] Prior to that, he served as Assistant Director of National Intelligence. Flynn co-authored a report in January 2010 through the Center for a New American Security entitled Fixing Intel: A Blueprint for Making Intelligence Relevant in Afghanistan,[5]

Flynn’s military career was primarily operational, with numerous combat arms, conventional and special operations senior intelligence assignments. He also served as the senior intelligence officer for the Joint Special Operations Command. Flynn is a published author, with articles appearing in Small Wars Journal, Military Review, Joint Forces Quarterly and other military and intelligence publications.

In May 2016, he emerged as one of several leading possibilities to be the vice presidentialrunning mate for Republican nominee Donald Trump.[6][7][8][9] Flynn was not chosen as Trump’s running mate; the vice presidential pick was ultimately Indiana GovernorMike Pence.[10] At the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, Flynn delivered what the Los Angeles Times called a “fiery speech”.[11]

On November 18, 2016, the Transition announced via press release that President-elect Donald Trump had named General Flynn his National Security Advisor.[12]

Early life and education

Flynn was born in Middletown, Rhode Island in December 1958,[1] the son of Helen Frances (Andrews), who worked in real estate, and Charles Francis Flynn, a banker.[13][14][15][16] The Flynns were an Irish Catholic family, Michael Flynn’s grandfather, also Charles Flynn, having been born in 1889 in Blacklands, Fivemiletown, County Tyrone, and later settling in Rhode Island after emigrating to the United States in 1913.[17][18][19][20]

Michael Flynn graduated from the University of Rhode Island with a Bachelor of Science degree in management science in 1981 and was a Distinguished Military Graduate of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps. He also earned a Master of Business Administration in Telecommunications from Golden Gate University, a Master of Military Art and Science from the United States Army Command and General Staff College, and a Master of Arts in National Security and Strategic Studies from the Naval War College.[3]

Flynn is a graduate of the Military Intelligence Officer Basic Course, Military Intelligence Officer Advanced Course, Army Command and General Staff College, the School of Advanced Military Studies, and Naval War College.[3]


1981 to 2001

Flynn’s military assignments after joining the Army in 1981 included multiple tours at Fort Bragg, North Carolina with the 82nd Airborne Division, XVIII Airborne Corps, and Joint Special Operations Command, where he deployed for Invasion of Grenada in Grenada and Operation Uphold Democracy in Haiti.[21] He also served with the 25th Infantry Division at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, and at the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk, Louisiana, and the Army Intelligence Center at Fort Huachuca, Arizona.[3]

2001 to 2012

Flynn served as the assistant chief of staff, G2, XVIII Airborne Corps at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, from June 2001 and the director of intelligence, Joint Task Force 180 in Afghanistan until July 2002. He commanded the 111th Military Intelligence Brigade from June 2002 to June 2004.[3]

Flynn was the director of intelligence for Joint Special Operations Command from July 2004 to June 2007, with service in Afghanistan (Operation Enduring Freedom) and Iraq (Operation Iraqi Freedom). He served as the director of intelligence, United States Central Command from June 2007 to July 2008, as the director of intelligence, Joint Staff from July 2008 to June 2009, then the director of intelligence, International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan from June 2009 to October 2010.[3]

In September 2011, Flynn was promoted to Lieutenant General and assigned to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency

Flynn speaks during the change of directorship for the Defense Intelligence Agency on Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling in Washington, D.C.

On April 17, 2012, President Barack Obama nominated Flynn to be the 18th director of the Defense Intelligence Agency.[22][23] Flynn took command of the DIA in July 2012.[24] In October 2012, Flynn announced plans to release his paper “VISION2020: Accelerating Change Through Integration”, a broad look at how the Defense Intelligence Agency must transform to meet the national security challenges for the 21st Century.[25] It was meant to emphasize “integration, interagency teamwork and innovation of the whole workforce, not just the technology but the people.” [26]

On April 30, 2014, Flynn announced his retirement effective later in 2014, about a year earlier than he had been scheduled to leave his position. He was reportedly effectively forced out of the DIA after clashing with superiors over his allegedly chaotic management style and vision for the agency.[27][28] According to what Flynn had told in one final interview as DIA director, he felt like a lone voice in thinking that the United States was less safe from the threat of Islamic terrorism in 2014 than it was prior to the 9/11 attacks; he went on to believe that he was pressed into retirement for questioning the Obama administration’s public narrative that Al Qaeda was close to defeat.[29] According to the New York Times, Flynn exhibited a loose relationship with facts, leading his subordinates to refer to Flynn’s repeated dubious assertions as “Flynn facts”.[30] He retired as of August 7.


Consulting firm

Main article: Flynn Intel Group

Flynn, along with son Michael G. Flynn, runs Flynn Intel Group which provides intelligence services for business and governments.[31] Several sources, including Politico, have written that Flynn’s consulting company is allegedly lobbying for Turkey. A company tied to Erdogan’s government, which supports Muslim Brotherhood, is known to have hired Flynn’s lobbying firm.[32][33][34][35][36][37] On election day 2016, Flynn wrote an op-ed calling for U.S. backing for Erdogan’s government and criticized the regime’s opponent, Fethullah Gulen; Flynn did not disclose that Flynn’s consulting firm had received funds from a company with ties to Erdogan’s government.[38]

Flynn sat in on classified national security briefings with then-candidate Trump at the same time that Flynn was working for foreign clients, which raises ethical concerns and conflicts of interest.[39]

Attendance of RT Gala Dinner

In 2015, Flynn attended a gala dinner in Moscow in honor of RT, a Russian government-owned English-language propaganda outlet on which he made semi-regular appearances as an analyst after he retired from U.S. government service. Before the gala, Flynn gave a paid talk on world affairs.[40][41] Flynn defended the Russian payment in an interview with Michael Isikoff.[41] Journalist Michael Crowley of Politico reported that “at a moment of semi-hostility between the U.S. and Russia, the presence of such an important figure at Putin’s table startled” U.S. officials.[40]

2016 U.S. presidential election

Flynn at a campaign rally for then-Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump, in October 2016.

Having already been consulted regarding national security by candidates Carly Fiorina, Scott Walker, Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, and Donald Trump,[42] Flynn was asked in February 2016 to serve as an adviser to the Trump campaign.[43] In July 2016, it was reported he was being considered as Trump’s running mate; Flynn later confirmed that he had submitted vetting documents to the campaign and was willing to accept the Republican vice-presidential nomination if chosen.[44][45]

As one of the keynote speakers during the first night of the 2016 Republican National Convention Flynn gave what the Los Angeles Times described as a “fiery” speech, in which he stated: “We are tired of Obama’s empty speeches and his misguided rhetoric. This, this has caused the world to have no respect for America’s word, nor does it fear our might”;[11] he also accused Obama of choosing to conceal the actions of Osama bin Laden and ISIS.[46] Flynn went on to critically address political correctness and joined the crowd in a chant of “U-S-A! U-S-A!”. During the chants he told those in the audience, “Get fired up! This is about our country.”[11][47] During the speech, Flynn also joined chants of “Lock her up!”, referring to the Democratic presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, and stated that she should quit the presidential race.[48][49] He repeated in subsequent interviews that she should be “locked up”.[50] While campaigning for Trump, Flynn also referred to Clinton as the “enemy camp”.[48]

Flynn was once opposed to waterboarding and other extreme interrogation techniques that have now been banned; however, according to an August 2016 Washington Postarticle, he said at one point, in the context of Trump’s apparent openness to reinstating such techniques, that “he would be reluctant to take options off the table.”[48] In May 2016, Flynn was asked by an Al Jazeerareporter if he would support Trump’s stated plan to kill the families of suspected terrorists. In response, Flynn stated, “I would have to see the circumstances of that situation”.[48] In an interview with Al Jazeera, Flynn criticized the reliance on drones as a “failed strategy”, stating that “what we have is this continued investment in conflict. The more weapons we give, the more bombs we drop, that just … fuels the conflict.”[51][52]

On November 18, 2016, Flynn accepted president-elect Donald Trump’s offer of the position of National Security Advisor.[53]

Political view

Flynn is a registered Democrat, having grown up in a “very strong Democratic family”.[54] However, he was a keynote speaker during the first night of the 2016 Republican National Convention,[11] and he is a surrogate and top national security adviser for president-elect Donald Trump.

During a July 10, 2016 interview on ABC News’ This Week, when asked by host Martha Raddatz about the issue of abortion, Flynn stated, “women have to be able to choose.”[54][55] The next day, Flynn said on Fox News that he is a “pro-life Democrat”.[56]

Flynn has been a board member of ACT! for America[53] and sees the Muslim faith as one of the root causes of Islamist terrorism.[57] He has described Islam as a political ideology and a cancer,[57][58] and stated in Twitter that the “fear of Muslims is RATIONAL [sic].”[53] Initially supportive of Trump’s proposal to ban Muslims from entering the US, Flynn later told Al Jazeera that a blanket ban was unworkable and has called instead for “vetting” of entrants from countries like Syria.[53]

In a review of Flynn’s book The Field of Fight,Will McCants of the Brookings Institution described Flynn’s worldview as a confused combination of neoconservatism (an insistence on destroying what he sees as an alliance of tyranny, dictatorships, and radical Islamist regimes) and realism (support for working with “friendly tyrants”).[59]


Flynn’s non-military awards and decorations include the National Intelligence Distinguished Service Medal and National Security Agency Distinguished Service Medal.[60] His military awards include the Defense Distinguished Service Medal,[61]Defense Superior Service Medal (with two oak leaf clusters), Legion of Merit (with oak leaf cluster), Bronze Star Medal (with three oak leaf clusters), Meritorious Service Medal (with five oak leaf clusters), Joint Service Commendation Medal, Army Commendation Medal (with five oak leaf clusters), and several service and campaign medals. Flynn also earned the Ranger Tab, Master Parachutist Badge, and Joint Staff Identification Badge.[3]

Flynn is also the recipient of the Congressionally approved Ellis Island Medal of Honor and the 2012 Association of Special Operations Professionals Man of the Year award.

Flynn has an honorary doctorate from The Institute of World Politics in Washington, DC.[3]


  • The Field of Fight: How We Can Win the Global War Against Radical Islam and Its Allies, with Michael Ledeen, was published by St. Martin’s Press in 2016.[62]

Story 3: Will Trump Offer Mitt Romney The Secretary of State Position? Romney is A Progressive Interventionist, Trump’s First Big Mistake? — — Let Romney Cleanup The Mess At The Veterans Administration — Videos Videos

Image result for cartoon trump select romney of secretary of stateImage result for cartoon trump makes up with romneyImage result for cartoon trump on romneyImage result for cartoon trump on romneyImage result for cartoon trump on romneyImage result for cartoon trump on romneyImage result for cartoon trump on romneyImage result for cartoon trump on romneyImage result for cartoon trump makes up with romneyImage result for cartoon trump on romneyImage result for cartoon trump on romneyImage result for cartoon trump on romneyImage result for trump meets with romneyImage result for trump meets with romney

Mitt Romney leaves after meeting with Donald Trump in NJ. (11-19-16)

Romney: Veterans Hospitals Need Competition, Standards

Trump unveils plan to help veterans and reform the VA

Romney Donated Thousands of Pints of Milk Weekly to a Veteran’s Shelter for 2 Years ~ Anonymously

Published on Sep 25, 2012

Mitt Romney anonymously donated 7,000 pints of milk, at 1/2 price, weekly to the New England Center for Homeless Veterans for 2 Years. This homeless shelter for veterans is in an old VA hospital in downtown Boston. When the milkman retired he finally told the staff at the shelter that the donor was Mitt Romney. The former director of the homeless shelter, Ken Smith, tells the full story in an interview that aired on “The Blaze TV” on Friday, September 14, 2012. I hope to have that interview uploaded soon.

Donald Trump vows to ‘pick up the phone’ on VA …

Will Rudy Giuliani, John Bolton and Laura Ingraham Join Trump’s Administration?

Rand Paul Explains Why Rudy Giuliani Or John Bolton Are Horrible Choices For Secretary Of State

Rand Paul on Donald Trump Appointing Mitt Romney

Rand Paul Considers National Security Possibles | Morning Joe | MSNBC

Mitt Romney Considered For Secretary Of State | MSNBC

Donald Trump Considering Mitt Romney For Secretary Of State | TODAY

And Suddenly Mitt Romney Is Back In Washington – The Factor (FULL SHOW 11/17/2016)

Mark Levin: Mitt Romney is now being considered for Secretary of State… (November 17 2016) The story of two men trapped in one body

Mitt Romney: Trump ‘A con man, a fake’ [FULL SPEECH]

Donald Trump’s Full Response to Mitt Romney Speech (3-3-16)

What Reince Priebus Did To Ron Paul.. Spin This One

Donald Trump’s Top 20 insults that are True

Mitt Romney

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
This article is about the American politician. For the American football player who went by the same name, see Milton Romney.
Mitt Romney
Former Massachusetts Governor and 2012 Republican Presidential nominee Mitt Romney
70th Governor of Massachusetts
In office
January 2, 2003 – January 4, 2007
Lieutenant Kerry Healey
Preceded by Jane Swift (Acting)
Succeeded by Deval Patrick
Personal details
Born Willard Mitt Romney
March 12, 1947 (age 69)
Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Ann Romney (m. 1969)
Children 5, including Tagg
Parents George W. Romney
Lenore Romney
Education Stanford University
Brigham Young University, Utah(BA)
Harvard University (JD/MBA)
Net worth ~ $250 million (2007)[1]
Website Official website

Willard Mitt Romney (born March 12, 1947) is an American businessman and politician who served as the 70th Governor of Massachusetts from 2003 to 2007 and was the Republican Party’s nominee for President of the United States in the 2012 election.

Raised in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, by his parents George and Lenore Romney, he spent 2½ years in France as a Mormon missionary, starting in 1966. He married Ann Davies in 1969, and they have five sons. By 1971, he had participated in the political campaigns of both parents. He earned a BA at Brigham Young University in 1971 and a joint JD–MBA at Harvard University in 1975.

Romney entered the management consulting industry, and in 1977 secured a position at Bain & Company. Later serving as Bain’s chief executive officer (CEO), he helped lead the company out of a financial crisis. In 1984, he co-founded and led the spin-off company Bain Capital, a highly profitable private equity investment firm that became one of the largest of its kind in the nation. Active in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), he served during his business career as the bishop of his ward (head of his local congregation) and then stake president in his home area near Boston.

After stepping down from Bain Capital and his local leadership role in the LDS Church, Romney ran as the Republican candidate in the 1994 Massachusetts election for U.S. Senate. Upon losing to longtime incumbent Ted Kennedy, he resumed his position at Bain Capital. Years later, a successful stint as President and CEO of the Salt Lake Organizing Committee for the 2002 Winter Olympics led to a relaunch of his political career.

Elected Governor of Massachusetts in 2002, Romney helped develop and enact into law the Massachusetts health care reform legislation, the first of its kind in the nation, which provided near-universal health insurance access through state-level subsidies and individual mandates to purchase insurance. He also presided over the elimination of a projected $1.2–1.5 billion deficit through a combination of spending cuts, increased fees, and the closure of corporate tax loopholes. He did not seek re-election in 2006, instead focusing on his campaign for the Republican nomination in the 2008 U.S. presidential election. He won several primaries and caucuses; however, he lost to the eventual nominee, Senator John McCain. His considerable net worth, estimated in 2012 at $190–250 million, helped finance his political campaigns prior to 2012.

Following his term as Governor of Massachusetts in 2007, Romney was the Republican Party’s nominee for President of the United States in the 2012 election. He won the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, becoming the first Mormon to be a major party presidential nominee. He was defeated by incumbent Democratic President Barack Obama in the November 2012 general election, losing by 332–206 electoral college votes. The popular vote margin was 51–47 percent in Obama’s favor. Following the election, he initially kept a low profile, and later became more visible politically.

Early life and education

Heritage and youth

See also: Romney family

Willard Mitt Romney[2] was born on March 12, 1947, at Harper University Hospital in Detroit, Michigan,[3] one of four children born to automobile executive George W. Romney (1907–1995) and homemaker Lenore Romney (née LaFount; 1908–1998).[4] His mother was a native of Logan, Utah, and his father was born to American parents in a Mormon colony in Chihuahua, Mexico.[5][6] Of primarily English descent, he also has Scottish and German ancestry.[7][8][9] A fifth-generation member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), he is a great grandson of Miles Park Romney and a great-great-grandson of Miles Romney, who converted to the faith in its first decade. Another great-great-grandfather, Parley P. Pratt, helped lead the early Church.[10][11]

Romney has three elder siblings; Margo, Jane, and Scott (Mitt followed them after a gap of nearly six years).[12] His parents named him after a family friend, businessman J. Willard Marriott, and his father’s cousin, Milton “Mitt” Romney, a former quarterback for the Chicago Bears.[13] Romney was referred to as “Billy” until kindergarten, when he indicated a preference for “Mitt”.[14] In 1953, the family moved from Detroit to the affluent suburb of Bloomfield Hills.[15] His father became the chairman and CEO of American Motors the following year, soon helping the company avoid bankruptcy and return to profitability.[15] By 1959, his father had become a nationally known figure in print and on television,[16] and the youngster idolized him.[17]

Brick buildings facing a courtyard

Romney began attending Cranbrook School in 1959.

Romney attended public elementary schools until the seventh grade, when he enrolled as one of only a few Mormon students at Cranbrook School, a traditional private boys’ preparatory school.[14][18] Many students there came from backgrounds even more privileged than his.[19] Not particularly athletic, he also did not distinguish himself academically.[17] He participated in his father’s successful 1962 Michigan gubernatorial campaign,[20] and later worked for him as an intern in the Governor’s office.[17][21] Romney took up residence at Cranbrook when his newly elected father began spending most of his time at the state capitol.[18]

At Cranbrook, Romney helped manage the ice hockey team, and he joined the pep squad.[18] During his senior year, he joined the cross country running team.[14] He belonged to eleven school organizations and school clubs overall, including the Blue Key Club, a booster group he had started.[18] During his final year there, he improved academically but fell short of excellence.[17][19] Romney became involved in several pranks while attending Cranbrook. He has since apologized, stating that some of the pranks may have gone too far.[nb 1]In March of his senior year, he began dating Ann Davies; she attended the private Kingswood School, the sister school to Cranbrook.[19][26] The two became informally engaged around the time of his June 1965 graduation.[17][22]

University, France mission, marriage, and children: 1965–75

Romney attended Stanford University during the academic year of 1965–66.[17] He was not part of the counterculture of the 1960s then taking form in the San Francisco Bay Area.[17] As opposition to United States involvement in the Vietnam War grew, a group staged a May 1966 sit-in at the university administration building to demonstrate against draft status tests; Romney joined a counter-protest against that group.[17][27] He continued to enjoy occasional pranks.[nb 2]

In July 1966, he left the U.S. for a thirty-month stay in France as a Mormon missionary,[17][30] a traditional rite of passage in his family.[nb 3] He arrived in Le Havre, where he shared cramped quarters under meager conditions.[10][32] Rules against drinking, smoking, and dating were strictly enforced.[10] Most individual Mormon missionaries do not gain many converts[nb 4] and Romney was no exception:[32] he later estimated ten to twenty for his entire mission.[37][nb 5] He initially became demoralized and later recalled it as the only time when “most of what I was trying to do was rejected.”[32] He soon gained recognition within the mission for the many homes he called on and the repeat visits he was granted.[10] He was promoted to zone leader in Bordeaux in early 1968, and soon thereafter became assistant to the mission president in Paris.[10][32][39] Residing at the Mission Home for several months, he enjoyed a mansion far more comfortable than the lodgings he had elsewhere in the country.[39] When the French expressed opposition to the U.S. role in the Vietnam War, Romney debated them in return, and his views were reinforced by those who yelled and slammed their doors.[10][32]

1968 campaign poster showing a smiling George Romney
Mitt’s father George (pictured here in a 1968 poster) lost the Republican presidential nomination to Richard M. Nixon and later was appointed to the Nixon cabinet.
campaign button advocating Lenore Romney for U. S. Senate
Mitt’s mother Lenore (promoted here on a button) lost a Senate race in 1970, and he worked for her campaign.

In June 1968, an automobile he was driving in southern France was hit by another vehicle, seriously injuring him and killing one of his passengers, the wife of the mission president.[nb 6] Romney was not at fault in the accident.[nb 6] He became co-president of a mission that had become demoralized and disorganized after the May 1968 general strike and student uprisings and the car accident.[40] With Romney rallying the others, the mission met a goal of 200 baptisms for the year, the most for them in a decade.[40] By the end of his stint in December 1968, he was overseeing the work of 175 others.[32][41] As a result of his stay, Romney developed a lifelong affection for France and its people, and has remained fluent in French.[43]

At their first meeting following his return, Romney and Ann Davies reconnected and decided to get married.[44] Romney began attending Brigham Young University (BYU), where she had been studying.[45] The couple married on March 21, 1969, in a civil ceremony in Bloomfield Hills.[46][47] The following day, they flew to Utah for a Mormon wedding ceremony at the Salt Lake Temple (Ann had converted to the faith while he was away).[46][47]

Mitt had missed much of the tumultuous American anti-Vietnam War movement while away in France. Upon his return, it surprised him to learn that his father had joined the movement during his unsuccessful 1968 presidential campaign.[32] George was now serving in President Richard Nixon’s cabinet as United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. In a June 1970 newspaper profile of children of cabinet members, Mitt said that U.S. involvement in the war had been misguided – “If it wasn’t a political blunder to move into Vietnam, I don’t know what is” – but supported Nixon’s ongoing Cambodian Incursion as a sincere attempt to bring the war to a conclusion.[48] During the U.S. military draft for the Vietnam War, Romney sought and received two 2-S student deferments, then a 4-D ministerial deferment while living in France as a Mormon missionary. He later sought and received two additional student deferments.[27][49] When those ran out, the result of the December 1969 draft lottery ensured he would not be selected.[27][49][50]

At culturally conservative BYU, Romney remained isolated from much of the upheaval of that era.[32][45] He became president of the Cougar Club booster organization and showed a new-found discipline in his studies.[32][45] During his senior year, he took a leave to work as driver and advance man for his mother Lenore Romney’s eventually unsuccessful 1970 campaign for U.S. Senator from Michigan;[22][46] together, they visited all 83 Michigan counties.[51][52] He earned a Bachelor of Arts in English with highest honors in 1971,[45]giving commencement addresses to both the College of Humanities and to the whole of BYU.[nb 7]

The Romneys’ first son, Taggart, was born in 1970[34] while they were undergraduates at BYU and living in a basement apartment.[45] Ann subsequently gave birth to Matthew (1971) and Joshua (1975). Benjamin (1978) and Craig (1981) would arrive later, after Romney began his career.[34]

Mitt Romney wanted to pursue a business career, but his father advised him that a law degree would be valuable to his career even if he did not become a lawyer.[55][56] Thus, he enrolled in the recently created joint Juris Doctor/Master of Business Administration four-year program coordinated between Harvard Law School and Harvard Business School.[57]He readily adapted to the business school’s pragmatic, data-driven case study method of teaching.[56] Living in a Belmont, Massachusetts house with Ann and their two children, his social experience differed from most of his classmates’.[46][56] He was nonideological and did not involve himself in the political issues of the day.[46][56] He graduated in 1975 cum laude from the law school, in the top third of that class, and was named a Baker Scholar for graduating in the top five percent of his business school class.[53][57]

Business career

Management consulting

Recruited by several firms, Romney joined the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), reasoning that working as a management consultant for a variety of companies would better prepare him for a future position as a chief executive.[55][58][nb 8] Part of a 1970s wave of top graduates who chose to go into consulting rather than join a large company directly,[60] he found his legal and business education useful in his job.[55] He applied BCG principles such as the growth-share matrix,[61] and executives viewed him as having a bright future there.[55][62] At the Boston Consulting Group, he was a colleague of Benjamin Netanyahu, with whom he formed a thirty-year friendship.[63]

In 1977, he was hired by Bain & Company, a management consulting firm in Boston formed a few years earlier by Bill Bain and other ex-BCG employees.[55][61][64] Bain would later say of the thirty-year-old Romney, “He had the appearance [sic] of confidence of a guy who was maybe ten years older.”[65] Unlike other consulting firms, which issued recommendations and then departed, Bain & Company immersed itself in a client’s business and worked with them until changes were implemented.[55][61] Romney became a vice-president of the firm in 1978,[14] and worked with clients such as the Monsanto Company, Outboard Marine Corporation, Burlington Industries, and Corning Incorporated.[58] Within a few years, the firm considered him one of their best consultants and clients sometimes sought to use him over more senior partners.[55][66]

Minor political issues

Two family incidents during this time later came to light during Romney’s political campaigns.[67][68] A state park ranger in 1981 told Romney his motorboat had an insufficiently visible license number and he would face a $50 fine if he took the boat onto the lake. Disagreeing about the license and wanting to continue a family outing, Romney took it out anyway, saying he would pay the fine. The ranger arrested him for disorderly conduct. The charges were dropped several days later.[69] In 1983, on a twelve-hour family road trip, he placed the family’s dog in a windshield-equipped carrier on the roof of their car, and then washed the car and carrier after the dog suffered a bout of diarrhea.[46] The dog incident in particular later became fodder for Romney’s critics and political opponents.[68][70]

Private equity

For more details on this topic, see Bain Capital.

In 1984, Romney left Bain & Company to cofound the spin-off private equity investment firm, Bain Capital.[71] He had initially refrained from accepting Bill Bain’s offer to head the new venture, until Bain rearranged the terms in a complicated partnership structure so that there was no financial or professional risk to Romney.[55][65][72] Bain and Romney raised the $37 million in funds needed to start the new operation, which had seven employees.[58][73] Romney held the titles of president[74] and managing general partner.[75][76] The sole shareholder of the firm, publications also referred to him as managing director or CEO.[77][78][79]

Initially, Bain Capital focused on venture capital investments. Romney set up a system in which any partner could veto one of these potential opportunities, and he personally saw so many weaknesses that few venture capital investments were approved in the initial two years.[55] The firm’s first significant success was a 1986 investment to help start Staples Inc., after founder Thomas G. Stemberg convinced Romney of the market size for office supplies and Romney convinced others; Bain Capital eventually reaped a nearly sevenfold return on its investment, and Romney sat on the Staples board of directors for over a decade.[55][73][80]

Romney soon switched Bain Capital’s focus from startups to the relatively new business of leveraged buyouts: buying existing companies with money mostly borrowed from banking institutions using the newly bought companies’ assets as collateral, then taking steps to improve the companies’ value, and finally selling those companies once their value peaked, usually within a few years.[55][65] Bain Capital lost money in many of its early leveraged buyouts, but then found deals that made large returns.[55] The firm invested in or acquired Accuride Corporation, Brookstone, Domino’s Pizza, Sealy Corporation, Sports Authority, and Artisan Entertainment, as well as some lesser-known companies in the industrial and medical sectors.[55][65][81] Much of the firm’s profit was earned from a relatively small number of deals; Bain Capital’s overall success-to-failure ratio was about even.[nb 9]

Romney discovered few investment opportunities himself (and those that he did, often failed to make money for the firm).[83] Instead, he focused on analyzing the merits of possible deals that others brought forward and on recruiting investors to participate in them once approved.[83] Within Bain Capital, Romney spread profits from deals widely within the firm to keep people motivated, often keeping less than ten percent for himself.[84] Data-driven, Romney often played the role of a devil’s advocate during exhaustive analysis of whether to go forward with a deal.[55][80] He wanted to drop a Bain Capital hedge fund that initially lost money, but other partners disagreed with him and it eventually gained billions.[55] He opted out of the Artisan Entertainment deal, not wanting to profit from a studio that produced R-rated films.[55] Romney served on the board of directors of Damon Corporation, a medical testing company later found guilty of defrauding the government; Bain Capital tripled its investment before selling off the company, and the fraud was discovered by the new owners (Romney was never implicated).[55] In some cases, Romney had little involvement with a company once acquired.[73]

Bain Capital’s leveraged buyouts sometimes led to layoffs, either soon after acquisition or later after the firm had concluded its role.[61][72][73] Exactly how many jobs Bain Capital added compared to those lost because of these investments and buyouts is unknown, owing to a lack of records and Bain Capital’s penchant for privacy on behalf of itself and its investors.[85][86][87] Maximizing the value of acquired companies and the return to Bain’s investors, not job creation, was the firm’s fundamental goal.[73][88] Bain Capital’s acquisition of Ampad exemplified a deal where it profited handsomely from early payments and management fees, even though the subject company itself ended up going into bankruptcy.[55][80][88] Dade Behring was another case where Bain Capital received an eightfold return on its investment, but the company itself was saddled with debt and laid off over a thousand employees before Bain Capital exited (the company subsequently went into bankruptcy, with more layoffs, before recovering and prospering).[85] Referring to the layoffs that happened, Romney said in 2007: “Sometimes the medicine is a little bitter but it is necessary to save the life of the patient. My job was to try and make the enterprise successful, and in my view the best security a family can have is that the business they work for is strong.”[72]

In 1990, facing financial collapse, Bain & Company asked Romney to return.[71] Announced as its new CEO in January 1991,[75][76] he drew a symbolic salary of one dollar[71] (remaining managing general partner of Bain Capital during this time).[75][76] He oversaw an effort to restructure Bain & Company’s employee stock-ownership plan and real-estate deals, while rallying the firm’s one thousand employees, imposing a new governing structure that excluded Bain and the other founding partners from control, and increasing fiscal transparency.[55][58][71] He got Bain and other initial owners who had removed excessive amounts of money from the firm to return a substantial amount, and persuaded creditors, including the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, to accept less than full payment.[89] Within about a year, he had led Bain & Company through a turnaround and returned the firm to profitability.[58] He turned Bain & Company over to new leadership and returned to Bain Capital in December 1992.[55][90][91]

Romney took a leave of absence from Bain Capital from November 1993 to November 1994 to run for the U.S. Senate.[46][92] During that time, Ampad workers went on strike, and asked Romney to intervene. Against the advice of Bain Capital lawyers, Romney met the strikers, but told them he had no position of active authority in the matter.[93][94]

By 1999, Bain Capital was on its way towards becoming one of the foremost private equity firms in the nation,[72] having increased its number of partners from 5 to 18, with 115 employees overall, and $4 billion under its management.[65][73] The firm’s average annual internal rate of return on realized investments was 113 percent[58][95] and its average yearly return to investors was around 50–80 percent.[82]

Romney took a paid leave of absence from Bain Capital in February 1999 to serve as the president and CEO of the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympic Games Organizing Committee.[96][97] Billed in some public statements as keeping a part-time role,[96][98] Romney remained the firm’s sole shareholder, managing director, CEO, and president, signing corporate and legal documents, attending to his interests within the firm, and conducting prolonged negotiations for the terms of his departure.[96][99] He did not involve himself in day-to-day operations of the firm or investment decisions for Bain Capital’s new private equity funds.[96][99] He retained his position on several boards of directors during this time and regularly returned to Massachusetts to attend meetings.[100]

In August 2001, Romney announced that he would not return to Bain Capital.[101] His separation from the firm concluded in early 2002;[96] he transferred his ownership to other partners and negotiated an agreement that allowed him to receive a passive profit share as a retired partner in some Bain Capital entities, including buyout and investment funds.[84][1] The private equity business continued to thrive, earning him millions of dollars in annual income.[84]

Personal wealth

As a result of his business career, Romney and his wife have a net worth of between $190 and $250 million,[1][102] including their retirement account, worth between $20 and $100 million.[103] Most of that wealth has been held in blind trusts since 2003, some of it offshore.[1][104][105] An additional blind trust, valued at $100 million in 2012, exists in the name of their children.[106][107] In 2010, Romney and his wife received about $22 million in income, almost all of it from investments such as dividends, capital gains, and carried interest; and they paid about $3 million in federal income taxes, for an effective tax rate of 14 percent.[108] For the years 1990–2010, their effective federal tax rates were above 13 percent with an average rate of about 20 percent.[109]

Romney has tithed to the LDS Church regularly, and donated to LDS Church-owned BYU.[10][11][110] In 2010, for example, he and his wife gave $1.5 million to the church.[108] The Romney family’s Tyler Charitable Foundation gave out about $650,000 in that year, some of which went to organizations that fight diseases.[111] For the years 1990–2010, the Romneys’ total charitable donations as portions of their income averaged 14 percent.[109]

Local LDS Church leadership

During his business career, Romney held several positions in the local lay clergy. In 1977, he became a counselor to the president of the Boston Stake.[112] He served as bishop of the ward (ecclesiastical and administrative head of his congregation) at Belmont, Massachusetts, from 1981 to 1986.[113][114] As such, in addition to home teaching, he also formulated Sunday services and classes using LDS scriptures to guide the congregation.[115] After the destruction of the Belmont meetinghouse by a fire of suspicious origins in 1984, he forged links with other religious institutions, allowing the congregation to rotate its meetings to other houses of worship during the reconstruction of their building.[114][116]

From 1986 to 1994, Romney presided over the Boston Stake, which included more than a dozen wards in eastern Massachusetts with almost 4,000 church members altogether.[66][115][117] He organized a team to handle financial and management issues, sought to counter anti-Mormon sentiments, and tried to solve social problems among poor Southeast Asian converts.[114][116] An unpaid position, his local church leadership often took 30 or more hours a week of his time,[115] and he became known for his considerable energy in the role.[66] He earned a reputation for avoiding any overnight travel that might interfere with his church responsibilities.[115]

Romney took a hands-on role in general matters, helping in domestic maintenance efforts, visiting the sick, and counseling burdened church members.[113][114][115] A number of local church members later credited him with turning their lives around or helping them through difficult times.[114][115][116] Others, rankled by his leadership style, desired a more consensus-based approach.[114] Romney tried to balance the conservative directives from church leadership in Utah with the desire of some Massachusetts members to have a more flexible application of religious doctrine.[66] He agreed with some requests from the liberal women’s group that published Exponent II for changes in the way the church dealt with women, but clashed with women whom he felt were departing too much from doctrine.[66] In particular, he counseled women to not have abortions except in the rare cases allowed by LDS doctrine,[nb 10] and encouraged single women facing unplanned pregnancies to give up their baby for adoption.[66] Romney later said that the years spent as an LDS minister gave him direct exposure to people struggling financially and empathy for those with family problems.[118]

1994 U.S. Senatorial campaign

Man smiling at right with sign in background and parents holding toddler at left

Campaigning for U.S. Senate in Holyoke, Massachusetts, 1994

For much of his business career, Romney did not take public, political stances.[119][120] He had kept abreast of national politics since college,[32] though, and the circumstances of his father’s presidential campaign loss had irked him for decades.[22] He registered as an Independent[46] and voted in the 1992 presidential primaries for the Democratic former senator from Massachusetts, Paul Tsongas.[119][121]

By 1993, Romney had begun thinking about entering politics, partly based upon Ann’s urging and partly to follow in his father’s footsteps.[46] He decided to challenge incumbent Democratic U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy, who was seeking re-election for the sixth time. Political pundits viewed Kennedy as vulnerable that year – in part because of the unpopularity of the Democratic Congress as a whole, and in part because this was Kennedy’s first election since the William Kennedy Smith trial in Florida, in which the senator had suffered some negative public relations regarding his character.[122][123][124] Romney changed his affiliation to Republican in October 1993 and formally announced his candidacy in February 1994.[46] In addition to his leave from Bain Capital, he stepped down from his church leadership role in 1994.[115]

Radio personality Janet Jeghelian took an early lead in polls among candidates for the Republican nomination for the Senate seat, but Romney proved the most effective fundraiser.[125][126]He won 68 percent of the vote at the May 1994 Massachusetts Republican Party convention; businessman John Lakian finished a distant second, eliminating Jeghelian.[127] Romney defeated Lakian in the September 1994 primary with more than 80 percent of the vote.[14][128]

In the general election, Kennedy faced the first serious re-election challenger of his career.[122] The younger, telegenic, and well-funded Romney ran as a businessman who stated he had created ten thousand jobs and as a Washington outsider with a solid family image and moderate stances on social issues.[122][129] When Kennedy tried to tie Romney’s policies to those of Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush, Romney responded, “Look, I was an independent during the time of Reagan-Bush. I’m not trying to take us back to Reagan-Bush.”[130] Romney stated, “Ultimately, this is a campaign about change.”[131]

Romney’s campaign was effective in portraying Kennedy as soft on crime, but had trouble establishing its own consistent positions.[132] By mid-September 1994, polls showed the race to be approximately even.[122][133][134] Kennedy responded with a series of ads that focused on Romney’s seemingly shifting political views on issues such as abortion;[135] Romney would respond on the latter by stating, “I believe that abortion should be safe and legal in this country.”[136] Other Kennedy ads centered on layoffs of workers at the Ampad plant owned by Romney’s Bain Capital.[122][137] The latter was effective in blunting Romney’s momentum.[80] Kennedy and Romney held a widely watched late-October debate that had no clear winner, but by then, Kennedy had pulled ahead in polls and stayed ahead afterward.[138] Romney spent $3 million of his own money in the race and more than $7 million overall.[139][nb 11] In the November general election, despite a disastrous showing for Democrats nationwide, Kennedy won the election with 58 percent of the vote to Romney’s 41 percent,[55] the smallest margin in any of Kennedy’s re-election campaigns for the Senate.[142]

The day after the election, Romney returned to Bain Capital, but the loss had a lasting effect; he told his brother, “I never want to run for something again unless I can win.”[46][143] When his father died in 1995, Mitt donated his inheritance to BYU’s George W. Romney Institute of Public Management.[54] He also joined the board, as vice-chair, of the Points of Light Foundation,[101] which had incorporated his father’s National Volunteer Center. Romney felt restless as the decade neared a close; the goal of simply making more money was becoming inadequate for him.[46][143] Although no longer in a local leadership position in his church, he still taught Sunday School.[113] During the long and controversial approval and construction process for the $30 million Mormon temple in Belmont, he feared that, as a political figure who had opposed Kennedy, he would become a focal point for opposition to the structure.[114] He thus kept to a limited, behind-the-scenes role in attempts to ease tensions between the church and local residents.[113][114][116]

2002 Winter Olympics

For more details on this topic, see 2002 Winter Olympics.

In 1998, Ann Romney learned that she had multiple sclerosis; Mitt described watching her fail a series of neurological tests as the worst day of his life.[46] After experiencing two years of severe difficulties with the disease, she found – while living in Park City, Utah, where the couple had built a vacation home – a combination of mainstream, alternative, and equestrian therapies that enabled her to lead a lifestyle mostly without limitations.[144] When her husband received a job offer to take over the troubled organization responsible for the 2002 Winter Olympics and Paralympics, to be held in Salt Lake City in Utah, she urged him to accept it; eager for a new challenge, as well as another chance to prove himself in public life, he did.[143][145][146] On February 11, 1999, the Salt Lake Organizing Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games of 2002 hired Romney as their president and CEO.[147]

Photograph of Romney standing with microphone in middle of curling lanes

Romney, as president and CEO of the Salt Lake Organizing Committee for the 2002 Winter Olympics, speaking before a curling match

Before Romney took the position, the event was running $379 million short of its revenue goals.[147] Officials had made plans to scale back the Games to compensate for the fiscal crisis, and there were fears it might be moved away entirely.[148] Additionally, the image of the Games had been damaged by allegations of bribery against top officials including prior committee president and CEO Frank Joklik. The Salt Lake Organizing Committee forced Joklik and committee vice president Dave Johnson to resign.[149] Utah power brokers, including Governor Mike Leavitt, searched for someone with a scandal-free reputation to take charge of the Olympics, and chose Romney based on his business and legal expertise as well as his connections to both the LDS Church and the state.[146][150] The appointment faced some initial criticism from non-Mormons, and fears from Mormons, that it represented cronyism or made the Games seem too Mormon-dominated.[38] Romney donated to charity the $1.4 million in salary and severance payments he received for his three years as president and CEO, and also contributed $1 million to the Olympics.[151]

Romney restructured the organization’s leadership and policies. He reduced budgets and boosted fundraising, alleviating the concerns of corporate sponsors while recruiting new ones.[143][146] Romney worked to ensure the safety of the Games following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks by coordinating a $300 million security budget.[145] He oversaw a $1.32 billion total budget, 700 employees, and 26,000 volunteers.[147] The federal government provided approximately $400 million[146][152][153] to $600 million[154][155]of that budget, much of it a result of Romney’s having aggressively lobbied Congress and federal agencies.[155][156] It was a record level of federal funding for the staging of a U.S. Olympics.[153][156] An additional $1.1 billion of indirect federal funding came to the state in the form of highway and transit projects.[157]

Romney emerged as the local public face of the Olympic effort, appearing in photographs, in news stories, on collectible Olympics pins depicting Romney wrapped by an American flag, and on buttons carrying phrases like “Hey, Mitt, we love you!”[143][146][158] Robert H. Garff, the chair of the organizing committee, later said “It was obvious that he had an agenda larger than just the Olympics,”[143] and that Romney wanted to use the Olympics to propel himself into the national spotlight and a political career.[146][159] Garff believed the initial budget situation was not as bad as Romney portrayed, given there were still three years to reorganize.[146] Utah Senator Bob Bennett said that much of the needed federal money was already in place.[146] An analysis by The Boston Globe later stated that the committee had nearly $1 billion in committed revenues at that time.[146]Olympics critic Steve Pace, who led Utahns for Responsible Public Spending, thought Romney exaggerated the initial fiscal state to lay the groundwork for a well-publicized rescue.[159] Kenneth Bullock, another board member of the organizing committee and also head of the Utah League of Cities and Towns, often clashed with Romney at the time, and later said that Romney deserved some credit for the turnaround but not as much as he claimed.[143] Bullock said: “He tried very hard to build an image of himself as a savior, the great white hope. He was very good at characterizing and castigating people and putting himself on a pedestal.”[146]

Despite the initial fiscal shortfall, the Games ended up with a surplus of $100 million.[160] President George W. Bush praised Romney’s efforts and 87 percent of Utahns approved of his performance as Olympics head.[23][161] It solidified his reputation as a “turnaround artist”,[146][162][163] and Harvard Business School taught a case study based around his actions.[61] U.S. Olympic Committee head William Hybl credited Romney with an extraordinary effort in overcoming a difficult time for the Olympics, culminating in “the greatest Winter Games I have ever seen”.[146] Romney wrote a book about his experience titled Turnaround: Crisis, Leadership, and the Olympic Games, published in 2004. The role gave Romney experience in dealing with federal, state, and local entities, a public persona he had previously lacked, and the chance to relaunch his political aspirations.[143]

Governor of Massachusetts

2002 gubernatorial campaign

In 2002, plagued by political missteps and personal scandals, the administration of Republican Acting Governor of Massachusetts Jane Swift appeared vulnerable, and many Republicans viewed her as unable to win a general election.[161][164] Prominent party figures – as well as the White House – wanted Romney to run for governor[165][166] and the opportunity appealed to him for reasons including its national visibility.[167] A poll by the Boston Herald showed Republicans favoring Romney over Swift by more than 50 percentage points.[168] On March 19, 2002, Swift announced she would not seek her party’s nomination, and hours later Romney declared his candidacy,[168] for which he would face no opposition in the primary.[169] In June 2002, the Massachusetts Democratic Party challenged Romney’s eligibility to run for governor, noting that state law required seven years’ consecutive residence and that Romney had filed his state tax returns as a Utah resident in 1999 and 2000.[170][171] In response, the bipartisan Massachusetts State Ballot Law Commission unanimously ruled that he had maintained sufficient financial and personal ties to Massachusetts and was, therefore, an eligible candidate.[172]

Romney again ran as a political outsider.[161] He played down his party affiliation,[173] saying he was “not a partisan Republican” but rather a “moderate” with “progressive” views.[174] He stated that he would observe a moratorium on changes to the state’s laws on abortion, but reiterated that he would “preserve and protect a woman’s right to choose” and that his position was “unequivocal”.[136][175] He touted his private sector experience as qualifying him for addressing the state’s fiscal problems[169] and stressed his ability to obtain federal funds for the state, offering his Olympics record as evidence.[153][156] He proposed to reorganize the state government while eliminating waste, fraud, and mismanagement.[173][176] The campaign innovatively utilized microtargeting techniques, identifying like-minded groups of voters and reaching them with narrowly tailored messaging.[177]

In an attempt to overcome the image that had damaged him in the 1994 Senate race – that of a wealthy corporate buyout specialist out of touch with the needs of regular people – the campaign staged a series of “work days”, in which Romney performed blue-collar jobs such as herding cows and baling hay, unloading a fishing boat, and hauling garbage.[176][178][179] Television ads highlighting the effort, as well as one portraying his family in gushing terms and showing him shirtless,[178] received a poor public response and were a factor in his Democratic opponent, Massachusetts State Treasurer Shannon O’Brien, leading in the polls as late as mid-October.[176][179] He responded with ads that accused O’Brien of being a failed watchdog for state pension fund losses in the stock market and that associated her husband, a former lobbyist, with the Enron scandal.[173][179] These were effective in capturing independent voters.[179] O’Brien said that Romney’s budget plans were unrealistic; the two also differed on capital punishment and bilingual education, with Romney supporting the former and opposing the latter.[180]

During the election, Romney contributed more than $6 million – a state record at the time – to the nearly $10 million raised for his campaign overall.[181][182] On November 5, 2002, he won the governorship, earning 50 percent of the vote to O’Brien’s 45 percent.[183]

Tenure, 2003–07

The swearing in of Romney as the 70th governor of Massachusetts took place on January 2, 2003.[184] He faced a Massachusetts state legislature with large Democratic majorities in both houses, and had picked his cabinet and advisors based more on managerial abilities than partisan affiliation.[185][186] He declined a governor’s salary of $135,000 during his term.[187] Upon entering office in the middle of a fiscal year, he faced an immediate $650 million shortfall and a projected $3 billion deficit for the next year.[173] Unexpected revenue of $1.0–1.3 billion from a previously enacted capital gains tax increase and $500 million in new federal grants decreased the deficit to $1.2–1.5 billion.[188][189] Through a combination of spending cuts, increased fees, and removal of corporate tax loopholes,[188] the state achieved surpluses of around $600–700 million during Romney’s last two full fiscal years in office, although it began running deficits again after that.[nb 12]

Mitt Romney resting on a wooden desk, flanked by an American flag, a picture of his wife, a lamp, and a painting of mountains

Massachusetts State Houseportrait of Governor Mitt Romney, by artist Richard Whitney, with Ann Romney pictured to the right

Romney supported raising various fees, including those for drivers’ licenses and gun licenses, to raise more than $300 million.[173][188] He increased a special gasoline retailer fee by two cents per gallon, generating about $60 million per year in additional revenue.[173][188] Opponents said the reliance on fees sometimes imposed a hardship on those who could least afford them.[188] Romney also closed tax loopholes that brought in another $181 million from businesses over the next two years and over $300 million for his term.[173][194][195] He did so in the face of conservative and corporate critics who viewed these actions as tax increases.[194][195]

The state legislature, with the governor’s support, cut spending by $1.6 billion, including $700 million in reductions in state aid to cities and towns.[196] The cuts also included a $140 million reduction in state funding for higher education, which led state-run colleges and universities to increase fees by 63 percent over four years.[173][188] Romney sought additional cuts in his last year as governor by vetoing nearly 250 items in the state budget; a heavily Democratic legislature overrode all the vetoes.[197]

The cuts in state spending put added pressure on localities to reduce services or raise property taxes, and the share of town and city revenues coming from property taxes rose from 49 to 53 percent.[173][188] The combined state and local tax burden in Massachusetts increased during Romney’s governorship.[173] He did propose a reduction in the state income tax rate that the legislature rejected.[198]

Romney sought to bring near-universal health insurance coverage to the state. This came after Staples founder Stemberg told him at the start of his term that doing so would be the best way he could help people.[199] Another factor was that the federal government, owing to the rules of Medicaid funding, threatened to cut $385 million in those payments to Massachusetts if the state did not reduce the number of uninsured recipients of health care services.[175][200] Although the idea of universal health insurance had not come to the fore during the campaign, Romney decided that because people without insurance still received expensive health care, the money spent by the state for such care could be better used to subsidize insurance for the poor.[199]

Determined that a new Massachusetts health insurance measure not raise taxes or resemble the previous decade’s failed “Hillarycare” proposal at the federal level, Romney formed a team of consultants from diverse political backgrounds to apply those principles. Beginning in late 2004, they devised a set of proposals that were more ambitious than an incremental one from the Massachusetts Senate and more acceptable to him than one from the Massachusetts House of Representatives that incorporated a new payroll tax.[175][186][200] In particular, Romney pushed for incorporating an individual mandate at the state level.[20] Past rival Ted Kennedy, who had made universal health coverage his life’s work and who, over time, had developed a warm relationship with Romney,[201] gave the plan a positive reception, which encouraged Democratic legislators to cooperate.[175][200] The effort eventually gained the support of all major stakeholders within the state, and Romney helped break a logjam between rival Democratic leaders in the legislature.[175][200]

On April 12, 2006, the governor signed the resulting Massachusetts health reform law, commonly called “Romneycare”, which requires nearly all Massachusetts residents to buy health insurance coverage or face escalating tax penalties, such as the loss of their personal income tax exemption.[202] The bill also established means-tested state subsidies for people who lacked adequate employer insurance and whose income was below a threshold, using funds that had covered the health costs of the uninsured.[203][204] He vetoed eight sections of the health care legislation, including a controversial $295-per-employee assessment on businesses that do not offer health insurance and provisions guaranteeing dental benefits to Medicaid recipients.[202][205] The legislature overrode all eight vetoes, but the governor’s office said the differences were not essential.[205] The law was the first of its kind in the nation and became the signature achievement of Romney’s term in office.[175][nb 13]

At the beginning of his governorship, Romney opposed same-sex marriage and civil unions, but advocated tolerance and supported some domestic partnership benefits.[175][207][208] A November 2003 Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court decision required the state to recognize same-sex marriages (Goodridge v. Department of Public Health).[209] Romney reluctantly backed a state constitutional amendment in February 2004 that would have banned those marriages but still allowed civil unions, viewing it as the only feasible way to accomplish the former.[209] In May 2004, in compliance with the court decision, the governor instructed town clerks to begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. However, citing a 1913 law that barred out-of-state residents from getting married in Massachusetts if their union would be illegal in their home state, he said no marriage licenses were to be issued to those people not planning to move to Massachusetts.[207][210] In June 2005, Romney abandoned his support for the compromise amendment, stating that it confused voters who opposed both same-sex marriage and civil unions.[207] Instead, he endorsed a ballot initiative led by the Coalition for Marriage and Family (an alliance of socially conservative organizations) that would have banned same-sex marriage and made no provisions for civil unions.[207] In 2004 and 2006, he urged the U.S. Senate to vote in favor of the Federal Marriage Amendment.[211][212]

In 2005, Romney revealed a change of view regarding abortion, moving from the pro-choice positions expressed during his 1994 and 2002 campaigns to a pro-life one in opposition to Roe v. Wade.[175] Romney attributed his conversion to an interaction with Harvard University biologist Douglas Melton, an expert on embryonic stem cell biology, although Melton vehemently disputed Romney’s recollection of their conversation.[213] Romney subsequently vetoed a bill on pro-life grounds that expanded access to emergency contraception in hospitals and pharmacies (the legislature overrode the veto).[214] He also amended his position on embryonic stem cell research itself.[nb 14]

Romney used a bully pulpit approach towards promoting his agenda, staging well-organized media events to appeal directly to the public rather than pushing his proposals in behind-doors sessions with the state legislature.[175] He dealt with a public crisis of confidence in Boston’s Big Dig project – that followed a fatal ceiling collapse in 2006 – by wresting control of the project from the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority.[175]After two years of negotiating the state’s participation in the landmark Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative that instituted a cap-and-trade arrangement for power plant emissions in the Northeast, Romney pulled Massachusetts out of the initiative shortly before its signing in December 2005, citing a lack of cost limits for industry.[215]

During 2004, Romney spent considerable effort trying to bolster the state Republican Party, but it failed to gain any seats in the state legislative elections that year.[173][216] Given a prime-time appearance at the 2004 Republican National Convention, political figures began discussing him as a potential 2008 presidential candidate.[217] Midway through his term, Romney decided that he wanted to stage a full-time run for president,[218] and on December 14, 2005, announced that he would not seek re-election for a second term.[219] As chair of the Republican Governors Association, Romney traveled around the country, meeting prominent Republicans and building a national political network;[218] he spent all, or parts of, more than 200 days out of state during 2006, preparing for his run.[220]

The Governor had a 61 percent job approval rating in public polls after his initial fiscal actions in 2003, although his approval rating subsequently declined,[221] driven in part by his frequent out-of-state travel.[221][222]Romney’s approval rating stood at 34 percent in November 2006, ranking 48th of the 50 U.S. governors.[223] Dissatisfaction with Romney’s administration and the weak condition of the Republican state party were among several factors contributing to Democrat Deval Patrick‘s 20-point win over Republican Kerry Healey, Romney’s lieutenant governor, in the 2006 Massachusetts gubernatorial election.[222][224]

Romney filed to register a presidential campaign committee with the Federal Election Commission on his penultimate day in office as governor. His term ended January 4, 2007.[225]

2008 presidential campaign

Romney formally announced his candidacy for the 2008 Republican nomination for president on February 13, 2007, in Dearborn, Michigan.[226] Again casting himself as a political outsider,[227] his speech frequently invoked his father and his family, and stressed experiences in the private, public, and voluntary sectors that had brought him to this point.[226][228]

Mitt Romney addressing an audience from atop a stage

Holding an “Ask Mitt Anything” session in Ames, Iowa, in May 2007

The campaign emphasized Romney’s highly profitable career in the business world and his stewardship of the Olympics.[218][229][nb 15] He also had political experience as a governor, together with a political pedigree courtesy of his father (as well as many biographical parallels with him).[nb 16] Ann Romney, who had become an advocate for those with multiple sclerosis,[235] was in remission and would be an active participant in his campaign,[236] helping to soften his political personality.[237] Media stories referred to the 6-foot-2-inch (1.88 m) Romney as handsome.[238] Moreover, a number of commentators noted that with his square jaw and ample hair graying at the temples, he physically matched one of the common images of what a president should look like.[71][239][240][241]

Romney’s liabilities included having run for senator and serving as governor in one of the nation’s most liberal states and having taken positions in opposition to the party’s conservative base during that time.[218][229][236] Late during his term as governor, he had shifted positions and emphases to better align with traditional conservatives on social issues.[218][229][236] Skeptics, including some Republicans, charged Romney with opportunism and a lack of core principles.[121][175][242] As a Mormon, he faced suspicion and skepticism by some in the Evangelical portion of the party.[242]

For his campaign, Romney assembled a veteran group of Republican staffers, consultants, and pollsters.[229][243] He was little-known nationally, though, and stayed around the 10 percent support range in Republican preference polls for the first half of 2007.[218] He proved the most effective fundraiser of any of the Republican candidates and also partly financed his campaign with his own personal fortune.[229][244] These resources, combined with the mid-year near-collapse of nominal front-runner John McCain‘s campaign, made Romney a threat to win the nomination and the focus of the other candidates’ attacks.[245] Romney’s staff suffered from internal strife; the candidate himself was at times indecisive, often asking for more data before making a decision.[229][246]

During all of his political campaigns, Romney has avoided speaking publicly about Mormon doctrines, referring to the U.S. Constitution’s prohibition of religious tests for public office.[247] But persistent questions about the role of religion in Romney’s life, as well as Southern Baptist minister and former Governor of Arkansas Mike Huckabee‘s rise in the polls based upon an explicitly Christian-themed campaign, led to the December 6, 2007, “Faith in America” speech.[248] In the speech Romney declared, “I believe in my Mormon faith and endeavor to live by it. My faith is the faith of my fathers. I will be true to them and to my beliefs.”[11] Romney added that he should neither be elected nor rejected based upon his religion,[249] and echoed Senator John F. Kennedy‘s famous speech during his 1960 presidential campaign in saying, “I will put no doctrine of any church above the plain duties of the office and the sovereign authority of the law.”[248] Instead of discussing the specific tenets of his faith, he said he would be informed by it, stating: “Freedom requires religion just as religion requires freedom. Freedom and religion endure together, or perish alone.”[248][249] Academics would later study the role religion had played in the campaign.[nb 17]

Casual photograph of Mitt and Ann Romney outdoors with wind blowing her hair

The Romneys on Mackinac Island at the September 2007 Republican Leadership Conference

The campaign’s strategy called for winning the initial two contests – the January 3, 2008, Iowa Republican caucuses and the adjacent-to-his-home-state January 8 New Hampshire primary – and propelling Romney nationally.[252] However, he took second place in both, losing Iowa to a vastly outspent Huckabee who received more than twice the evangelical Christian votes,[253][254] and losing New Hampshire to the resurgent McCain.[253] Huckabee and McCain criticized Romney’s image as a flip flopper[253]and this label would stick to Romney through the campaign[229] (one that Romney rejected as unfair and inaccurate, except for his acknowledged change of mind on abortion).[237][255] Romney seemed to approach the campaign as a management consulting exercise, and showed a lack of personal warmth and political feel; journalist Evan Thomas wrote that Romney “came off as a phony, even when he was perfectly sincere.”[237][256] The fervor with which Romney adopted his new stances and attitudes contributed to the perception of inauthenticity that hampered the campaign.[61][257] Romney’s staff would conclude that competing as a candidate of social conservatism and ideological purity rather than of pragmatic competence had been a mistake.[237]

A win by McCain over Huckabee in South Carolina, and by Romney over McCain in childhood-home Michigan, set up a pivotal battle in the Florida primary.[258][259] Romney campaigned intensively on economic issues and the burgeoning subprime mortgage crisis, while McCain attacked Romney regarding Iraq policy and benefited from endorsements from Florida officeholders.[258][259] McCain won a 5 percentage point victory on January 29.[258][259] Although many Republican officials were now lining up behind McCain,[259] Romney persisted through the nationwide Super Tuesday contests on February 5. There he won primaries or caucuses in several states, but McCain won in more and in larger-population ones.[260] Trailing McCain in delegates by a more than two-to-one margin, Romney announced the end of his campaign on February 7.[260]

Altogether, Romney had won 11 primaries and caucuses,[261] receiving about 4.7 million votes[262] and garnering about 280 delegates.[263] He spent $110 million during the campaign, including $45 million of his own money.[264]

Romney endorsed McCain for president a week later,[263] and McCain had Romney on a short list for vice presidential running mate, where his business experience would have balanced one of McCain’s weaknesses.[265] McCain, behind in the polls, opted instead for a high-risk, high-reward “game changer”, selecting Alaska Governor Sarah Palin.[266] McCain lost the election to Democratic Senator Barack Obama.

Activity between presidential campaigns

Romney supported the Bush administration’s Troubled Asset Relief Program in response to the late-2000s financial crisis, later saying that it prevented the U.S. financial system from collapsing.[267][268] During the U.S. automotive industry crisis of 2008–10, he opposed a bailout of the industry in the form of direct government intervention, and argued that a managed bankruptcy of struggling automobile companies should instead be accompanied by federal guarantees for post-bankruptcy financing from the private sector.[269]

Following the 2008 election, Romney laid the groundwork for a likely 2012 presidential campaign by using his Free and Strong America political action committee (PAC) to raise money for other Republican candidates and pay his existing political staff’s salaries and consulting fees.[270][271] A network of former staff and supporters around the nation were eager for him to run again.[272] He continued to give speeches and raise funds for Republicans,[273] but fearing overexposure, turned down many potential media appearances.[255] He also spoke before business, educational, and motivational groups.[274] From 2009 to 2011, he served on the board of directors of Marriott International, founded by his namesake J. Willard Marriott.[275] He had previously served on it from 1993 to 2002.[275][nb 18]

In 2009, the Romneys sold their primary residence in Belmont and their ski chalet in Utah, leaving them an estate along Lake Winnipesaukee in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire, and an oceanfront home in the La Jolladistrict of San Diego, California, which they had purchased the year before.[255][278][279] The La Jolla home proved beneficial in location and climate for Ann Romney’s multiple sclerosis therapies and for recovering from her late 2008 diagnosis of mammary ductal carcinoma in situ and subsequent lumpectomy.[278][280][281] Both it and the New Hampshire location were near some of their grandchildren.[278] Romney maintained his voting registration in Massachusetts, however, and bought a smaller condominium in Belmont during 2010.[280][282] In February 2010, Romney had a minor altercation with LMFAO member Skyler Gordy, known as Sky Blu, on an airplane flight.[nb 19]

Casual photograph of Mitt Romney indoors seated and signing books

Romney signing copies of his new book No Apology: The Case for American Greatness for service members at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in March 2010

Romney released his book, No Apology: The Case for American Greatness, in March 2010, and undertook an 18-state book tour to promote the work.[286] In the book, Romney writes of his belief in American exceptionalism,[287] and presents his economic and geopolitical views rather than anecdotes about his personal or political life.[287][288] It debuted atop The New York Times Best Seller list.[289] Romney donated his earnings from the book to charity.[102]

Immediately following the March 2010 passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Romney attacked the landmark legislation as “an unconscionable abuse of power” and said the act should be repealed.[290] The antipathy Republicans felt for it created a potential problem for the former governor, since the new federal law was in many ways similar to the Massachusetts health care reform passed during Romney’s term; as one Associated Press article stated, “Obamacare … looks a lot like Romneycare.”[290] While acknowledging that his plan was an imperfect work in progress, Romney did not back away from it. He defended the state-level health insurance mandate that underpinned it, calling the bill the right answer to Massachusetts’ problems at the time.[290][291][292]

In nationwide opinion polling for the 2012 Republican Presidential primaries, Romney led or placed in the top three with Palin and Huckabee. A January 2010 National Journal survey of political insiders found that a majority of Republican insiders and a plurality of Democratic insiders predicted Romney would be the party’s 2012 nominee.[293] Romney campaigned heavily for Republican candidates in the 2010 midterm elections,[294] raising more money than the other prospective 2012 Republican presidential candidates.[295] Beginning in early 2011, Romney presented a more relaxed visual image, including more casual attire.[257][296]

2012 presidential campaign

Photograph of Romney working a lunch counter line, with citizens and press photographers crowding around

Romney making an appearance in Livonia, Michigan, days after his June 2011 formal campaign announcement

On April 11, 2011, Romney announced, via a video taped outdoors at the University of New Hampshire, that he had formed an exploratory committee for a run for the Republican presidential nomination.[297][298] Quinnipiac University political science professor Scott McLean stated, “We all knew that he was going to run. He’s really been running for president ever since the day after the 2008 election.”[298]

Romney stood to benefit from the Republican electorate’s tendency to nominate candidates who had previously run for president, and thus appeared to be next in line to be chosen.[272][299][300] The early stages of the race found him as the apparent front-runner in a weak field, especially in terms of fundraising prowess and organization.[301][302][303] Perhaps his greatest hurdle in gaining the Republican nomination was party opposition to the Massachusetts health care reform law that he had shepherded five years earlier.[296][298][300] As many potential Republican candidates with star power and fundraising ability decided not to run (including Mike Pence, John Thune, Haley Barbour, Mike Huckabee, and Mitch Daniels), Republican party figures searched for plausible alternatives to Romney.[301][303]

On June 2, 2011, Romney formally announced the start of his campaign. Speaking on a farm in Stratham, New Hampshire, he focused on the economy and criticized President Obama’s handling of it.[304] He said, “In the campaign to come, the American ideals of economic freedom and opportunity need a clear and unapologetic defense, and I intend to make it – because I have lived it.”[300]

Mitt Romney sitting outdoors during daytime, with crowd behind him holding up blue and white "Romney" signs

Giving an interview at a supporters rally in Paradise Valley, Arizona

Romney raised $56 million during 2011, more than double the amount raised by any of his Republican opponents,[305] and refrained from spending his own money on the campaign.[306] He initially pursued a low-key, low-profile strategy.[307] Michele Bachmann staged a brief surge in polls, which preceded a poll surge in September 2011 by Rick Perry who had entered the race the month before.[308] Perry and Romney exchanged sharp criticisms of each other during a series of debates among the Republican candidates.[309] The October 2011 decisions of Chris Christie and Sarah Palin not to run effectively settled the field of candidates.[310][311] Perry faded after poor performances in those debates, while Herman Cain‘s ‘long-shot’ bid gained popularity until allegations of sexual misconduct derailed it.[312][313]

Romney continued to seek support from a wary Republican electorate; at this point in the race, his poll numbers were relatively flat and at a historically low level for a Republican frontrunner.[310][314][315] After the charges of flip-flopping that marked his 2008 campaign began to accumulate again, Romney declared in November 2011: “I’ve been as consistent as human beings can be.”[316][317][318] In the final month before voting began, Newt Gingrich experienced a significant surge – taking a solid lead in national polls and most of the early caucus and primary states[319] – before settling back into parity or worse with Romney following a barrage of negative ads from Restore Our Future, a pro-Romney Super PAC.[320]

In the initial contest, the 2012 Iowa caucuses of January 3, election officials announced Romney as ahead with 25 percent of the vote, edging out a late-gaining Rick Santorum by eight votes (an also-strong Ron Paul finished third).[321] Sixteen days later, however, they certified Santorum as the winner by a 34-vote margin.[322] A week after the Iowa caucuses, Romney earned a decisive win in the New Hampshire primary with a total of 39 percent of the vote; Paul finished second and Jon Huntsman, Jr. third.[323]

In the run-up to the South Carolina Republican primary, Gingrich launched ads criticizing Romney for causing job losses while at Bain Capital, Perry referred to Romney’s role there as “vulture capitalism“, and Sarah Palin pressed Romney to prove his claim that he created 100,000 jobs during that time.[324][325] Many conservatives rallied in defense of Romney, rejecting what they inferred as criticism of free-market capitalism.[324]During two debates in the state, Romney fumbled questions about releasing his income tax returns, while Gingrich gained support with audience-rousing attacks on the debate moderators.[326][327] Romney’s double-digit lead in state polls evaporated; he lost to Gingrich by 13 points in the January 21 primary.[326] Combined with the delayed loss in Iowa, Romney’s admitted poor week represented a lost chance to end the race early, and he quickly decided to release two years of his tax returns.[326][328] The race turned to the Florida Republican primary, where in debates, appearances, and advertisements, Romney launched a sustained barrage against Gingrich’s past record and associations and current electability.[329][330] Romney enjoyed a large spending advantage from both his campaign and his aligned Super PAC, and after a record-breaking rate of negative ads from both sides, Romney won Florida on January 31, gaining 46 percent of the vote to Gingrich’s 32 percent.[331]

Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan seen in medium distance on an outdoor stage, with large crowd around them

With running mate Paul Ryan in Norfolk, Virginia, during the vice presidential selection announcement on August 11, 2012

Several caucuses and primaries took place during February, and Santorum won three in a single night early in the month, propelling him into the lead in national and some state polls and positioning him as Romney’s chief rival.[332] Days later, Romney told the Conservative Political Action Conference that he had been a “severely conservative governor”[333] (while during his term in 2005 he had maintained that his positions were moderate and characterized reports that he was shifting to the right to attract conservative votes a media distortion).[334] Romney won the other five February contests, including a closely fought one in his home state of Michigan at the end of the month.[335][336] In the Super Tuesday primaries and caucuses of March 6, Romney won six of ten contests, including a narrow victory in Ohio over a vastly outspent Santorum. Although his victories were not enough to end the race, they were enough to establish a two-to-one delegate lead over Santorum.[337] Romney maintained his delegate margin through subsequent contests,[338] and Santorum suspended his campaign on April 10.[339] Following a sweep of five more contests on April 24, the Republican National Committee put its resources to work for Romney as the party’s presumptive nominee.[340] Romney clinched a majority of the delegates with a win in the Texas primary on May 29.

Polls consistently indicated a tight race for the November general election.[341] Negative ads from both sides dominated the campaign, with Obama’s proclaiming that Romney shipped jobs overseas while at Bain Capital and kept money in offshore tax havens and Swiss bank accounts.[342] A related issue dealt with Romney’s purported responsibility for actions at Bain Capital after taking the Olympics post.[97][99] Romney faced demands from Democrats to release additional years of his tax returns, an action a number of Republicans also felt would be wise; after being adamant that he would not do that, he released summaries of them in late September.[109][343] During May and June, the Obama campaign spent heavily and was able to paint a negative image of Romney in voters’ minds before the Romney campaign could construct a positive one.[344]

In July 2012, Romney visited the United Kingdom, Israel, and Poland, meeting leaders in an effort to raise his credibility as a world statesman.[345] Comments Romney made about the readiness of the 2012 Summer Olympics were perceived as undiplomatic by the British press.[346][347] Israeli Prime Minister (and former BCG colleague) Benjamin Netanyahu, embraced Romney, though some Palestinians criticized him for suggesting that Israel’s culture led to their greater economic success.[348]

On August 11, 2012, the Romney campaign announced the selection of Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin as his vice-presidential running mate.[349]

On August 28, 2012, the 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida, officially nominated Romney as their candidate for the presidency.[350] Romney became the first Mormon to be a major-party presidential nominee.[351]

In mid-September, a video surfaced of Romney speaking before a group of supporters in which he stated that 47 percent of the nation pays no income tax, are dependent on the federal government, see themselves as victims, and will support President Obama unconditionally. Romney went on to say: “And so my job is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them that they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”[352][353][354] After facing criticism about the tone and accuracy of these comments, he at first characterized them as “inelegantly stated”, then a couple of weeks later commented: “I said something that’s just completely wrong.”[355] Exit polls published following the election showed that voters never saw Romney as someone who cared about people like them.[344]

Colored map

County-by-county results of the election, shaded by percentage won: Obama in blue, Romney in red

The first of three 2012 presidential election debates took place on October 3, in Denver. Media figures and political analysts widely viewed Romney as having delivered a stronger and more focused presentation than did President Obama.[355][356] That initial debate overshadowed Obama’s improved presentation in the last two debates later in October, and Romney maintained a small advantage in the debates when seen as a whole.[357]

The election took place on November 6, and Obama was projected the winner at about 11:14 pm Eastern Standard Time.[358] Romney garnered 206 electoral college votesto Obama’s 332, losing all but one of nine battleground states, and 47 percent of the nationwide popular vote to Obama’s 51 percent.[359][360] Media accounts described Romney as “shellshocked” by the result.[361] He and his senior campaign staff had disbelieved public polls showing Obama narrowly ahead, and had thought they were going to win until the vote tallies began to be reported on the evening of the election.[361] But Romney’s get out the vote operation had been inferior to Obama’s, both in person-to-person organization and in voter modeling and outreach technology[362] (the latter exemplified by the failure of the Project Orca application).[344] In his concession speech to his supporters, he said, “Like so many of you, Paul and I have left everything on the field. We have given our all to this campaign. I so wish that I had been able to fulfill your hopes to lead this country in a different direction, but the nation chose another leader.”[363] Reflecting on his defeat during a conference call to hundreds of fundraisers and donors a week after the election, Romney attributed the outcome to Obama’s having secured the votes of specific interest groups, including African Americans, Hispanic Americans, young people, and women, by offering them what Romney called “extraordinary financial gifts.”[364][365][366] The remark drew heavy criticism from prominent members of the Republican party.[367][368]

Political positions

Romney and Obama shaking hands

Romney meeting with President Obama after the 2012 presidential election.

In addition to calling for cuts in federal government spending to help reduce the national debt,[369] Romney proposed measures intended to limit the growth of entitlement programs, such as introducing means testing and gradually raising the eligibility ages for receipt of Social Security and Medicare.[369] He supported substantial increases in military spending and promised to invest more heavily in military weapons programs while increasing the number of active-duty military personnel.[370][371] He was very supportive of the directions taken by the budget proposals of Paul Ryan, although he later proposed his own budget plan.[372][373]

Romney pledged to lead an effort to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) and replace it with a system that gives states more control over Medicaid and makes health insurance premiums tax-advantaged for individuals in the same way they are for businesses.[374] He favored repeal of the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act and the Sarbanes–Oxley Act and intended to replace them with what he called a “streamlined, modern regulatory framework”.[375][376]

He also promised to seek income tax law changes that he said would help to lower federal deficits and would stimulate economic growth. These included: reducing individual income tax rates across the board by 20 percent, maintaining the Bush administration-era tax rate of 15 percent on investment income from dividends and capital gains (and eliminating this tax entirely for those with annual incomes less than $200,000), cutting the top tax rate on corporations from 35 to 25 percent, and eliminating the estate tax and the Alternative Minimum Tax.[377][378] He promised that the loss of government revenue from these tax cuts would be offset by closing loopholes and placing limits on tax deductions and credits available to taxpayers with the highest incomes,[378] but said that that aspect of the plan could not yet be evaluated because details would have to be worked out with Congress.[379]

Romney opposed the use of mandatory limits on greenhouse gas emissions to deal with global warming.[317] He stated that he believed climate change is occurring, but that he did not know how much of it could be linked to human activity.[317] He was a proponent of increased domestic oil drilling, hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”), building more nuclear power plants, and reducing the regulatory authority of the Environmental Protection Agency.[380][381] He believed North American energy independence could be achieved by 2020.[382]

Romney labeled Russia as America’s “number one geopolitical foe”,[383] and asserted that preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear capability should be America’s “highest national security priority”.[384] Romney stated his strong support for Israel.[385] He planned to formally label China a currency manipulator and take associated counteractions unless that country changed its trade practices.[386] Romney supported the Patriot Act,[387] the continued operation of the Guantanamo Bay detention camp, and use of enhanced interrogation techniques against suspected terrorists.[387] Romney opposed same-sex marriage and civil unions, although he favored domestic partnership legislation that gives certain legal rights to same-sex couples, such as hospital visitation.[388] In 2011, he signed a pledge promising to seek passage of an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman.[389]

Since 2005, Romney described himself as “pro-life”.[390] In that year, he wrote: “I believe that abortion is the wrong choice except in cases of incest, rape, and to save the life of the mother.”[391][nb 10][nb 14] During his 1994 campaign for the senate, Romney had said, “I believe that abortion should be safe and legal in this country,” a stance he reiterated during his 2002 campaign for governor.[136][394] While Romney would prefer to see passage of a constitutional amendment that would outlaw abortion, he did not believe the public would support such an amendment;[395] as an alternative, he promised to nominate Supreme Court justices who would help overturn Roe v. Wade, allowing each state to decide on the legality of abortion.[396]

Romney said that he would appoint federal judges in the mold of U.S. Supreme Court justices John Roberts, Clarence Thomas, Antonin Scalia, and Samuel Alito.[397][398] He advocated judicial restraint and strict constructionism as judicial philosophies.[398][399]

Subsequent activities

During the first year following the election defeat, Romney generally kept a low profile,[400] with his ordinary daily activities around San Diego being captured via social media glimpses.[401] In December 2012, he joined the board of Marriott International for a third stint as a director.[402] In March 2013, Romney gave a reflective interview on Fox News Sunday, stating, “It kills me not to be there, not to be in the White House doing what needs to be done”. He again expressed regret at the “47 percent” remark, saying “There’s no question that hurt and did real damage to my campaign.”[403][404] (He was still echoing both of these sentiments a year later.[405]) Romney began working as executive partner group chairman for Solamere Capital, a private capital firm in Boston owned by his son Tagg.[406] He was also involved in supporting several charitable causes.[406]

Mitt and Ann Romney share a moment with his former running mate, Paul Ryan, as they witness the election and ascension of Ryan as the 54th Speaker of the House of Representatives on October 29, 2015

The Romneys bought a home again in the Deer Valley area of Park City, Utah,[407][408] followed by a property in Holladay, Utah, where they plan to tear down an existing house and build a new one.[406] They also gained long-sought permission to replace their La Jolla home with a much bigger one, including a car elevator that had brought some derision during the 2012 campaign.[406][409] In addition, Romney and his siblings continue to own a cottage in the gated community called Beach O’ Pines located south of Grand Bend, Ontario, which has been in the family for more than sixty years.[410] With the new acquisitions the couple briefly had five homes, located near each of their five sons and respective families, and the couple continued to spend considerable time with their grandchildren, who by 2013 numbered 22.[406][409] They then sold the condominium in Belmont and decided to make their main residence in Utah,[405] including switching voter registration.[408] The 2014 documentary film Mitt showed a behind-the-scenes, family-based perspective on both of Romney’s presidential campaigns and received positive notices for humanizing the candidate and illustrating the toll that campaigning takes.[405][411][412]

Romney himself thought he might be branded a “loser for life” and fade into an obscurity like Michael Dukakis[405] (a similar figure with no obvious base of political support who had lost what his party considered a winnable presidential election)[413] but, to the surprise of many political observers, that did not happen.[414] Romney re-emerged onto the political scene in the run-up to the 2014 U.S. midterm elections, endorsing, campaigning, and fundraising for a number of Republican candidates, especially those running for the U.S. Senate.[415][416]

External video
Mitt Romney at 2012 CPAC.jpg
Watch Mitt Romney’s full March 3 speech: ‘Trump is a phony, a fraud’, 17:49, see 2;40-10:00, PBS Newshour[417]
Donald Trump responds to Romney’s comments at Maine rally, 43:25, see 7:50-10:00, PBS Newshour

By early 2014, the lack of a clear mainstream Republican candidate for the 2016 presidential election led some supporters, donors, and pollsters to suggest Romney stage a third run.[412] Regarding such a possibility, Romney at first responded, “Oh, no, no, no. No, no, no, no, no. No, no, no.”[412] Nevertheless, speculation continued: the continuing unpopularity of Obama led to buyer’s remorse among some voters; the 2014 Russian military intervention in Ukraine made Romney’s “No. 1 geopolitical foe” remark look prescient; and an August 2014 poll of Iowan Republicans showed Romney with a large lead there over other potential 2016 candidates.[418] A poll conducted in July 2014 by CNN showed Romney with a 53 to 44 lead over Obama in a hypothetical election “redo.”[419][420] By early 2015, Romney was actively considering the idea and contacting his network of supporters.[421][422] In doing so he was positioning himself in the invisible primary – the preliminary jockeying for the backing of party leaders, donors, and political operatives – against former Florida governor Jeb Bush, who had already set a likely campaign in motion and would be a rival to Romney for establishment Republican support.[422][423] Despite support in some quarters for a third bid for the presidency, there was a backlash against him from conservatives who wanted a fresher face without a history of presidential losses,[424] and many of Romney’s past donors were not willing to commit to him again.[425] Romney announced on January 30, 2015 that he would not run for president in 2016, saying that while he thought he could win the nomination, “one of our next generation of Republican leaders” would be better positioned to win the general election.[426][427]

As the Republican presidential nomination race went into the primaries season, Romney had not endorsed anyone but was one of the Republican establishment figures who were becoming increasingly concerned about the front-runner status of New York businessman Donald Trump.[428] Romney publicly criticized Trump for not releasing his taxes, saying there might be a “bombshell” in them.[429] Trump responded by calling Romney “one of the dumbest and worst candidates in the history of Republican politics.”[428] Then Romney gave a speech on March 3, 2016, at the Hinckley Institute of Politics, that represented a scathing attack on Trump’s personal behavior, business performance, and domestic and foreign policy stances. He said Trump was “a phony, a fraud … He’s playing members of the American public for suckers” and that “If we Republicans choose Donald Trump as our nominee, the prospects for a safe and prosperous future are greatly diminished.”[430][431] In response Trump dismissed Romney as a “choke artist”.[431] Romney’s speech represented an unprecedented attack by a major U.S. party’s most recent presidential nominee against the party’s current front-runner for the nomination.[431][432][433] Romney encouraged Republicans to engage in tactical voting, by supporting whichever of the remaining rivals had the best chance to beat Trump in any given state,[434] and as such Romney announced he was voting for, although not endorsing, Ted Cruz for president prior to the March 22 Utah caucus.[435] As the race went on there was some evidence of tactical voting occurring, and some partial arrangements were formed among candidates,[436][437] but by May 3 Trump had defeated all his opponents and became the party’s presumptive nominee. Romney then announced that he would not support Trump in the general election, saying, “I am dismayed at where we are now, I wish we had better choices”.[438]

In June, Romney said that he wouldn’t vote for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton either, saying: “It’s a matter of personal conscience. I can’t vote for either of those two people.”[439] He suggested that he may vote for a third-party candidate, or write-in his wife’s name, saying she would be “an ideal president”.[439] When pressed on who of Trump and Clinton was more qualified to be President, Romney quoted P. J. O’Rourke: “Hillary Clinton is wrong on every issue, but she’s wrong within the normal parameters.”[439] He considered voting for the Libertarian ticket of former Republican Governors Gary Johnson and William Weld, saying that he would “get to know Gary Johnson better and see if he’s someone who I could end up voting for”, adding that “if Bill Weld were at the top of the ticket, it would be very easy for me to vote for Bill Weld for president.”[440]In September he called for Johnson to be included in the presidential debates[441] and in October it emerged that Independent candidate Evan McMullin was using an email list of 2.5 million Romney supporters to raise money.[442] McMullin’s chief strategist said that it was purchased from Romney for President and that “we’ll let other folks discuss what that may mean and certainly never speak for [Romney]”.[442] A spokeswoman for Romney said that the list had been “rented by several political candidates in the presidential primary, and by countless other political and commercial users in the time since the 2012 campaign”[442] and Romney made no public comment on McMullin’s candidacy.[443] Romney and his wife cast early ballots in Utah, but he declined to say who he voted for.[443] After Trump won the election, Romney congratulated him via phone call and on Twitter.[444]

Awards and honors

Romney has received a number of honorary doctorates, including in business from the University of Utah in 1999,[445] in law from Bentley College in 2002,[446] in public administration from Suffolk University Law School in 2004,[447] in public service from Hillsdale College in 2007,[448] and in humanities from Liberty University in 2012.[449] He also received one from Southern Virginia University in 2013[450] and ones in 2015 from Jacksonville University,[451] Utah Valley University,[452] and Saint Anselm College.[453]

People magazine included Romney in its 50 Most Beautiful People list for 2002,[454] and in 2004, a foundation that promotes the Olympic truce, gave him its inaugural Truce Ideal Award.[455] The Cranbrook School gave him their Distinguished Alumni Award in 2005.[18] In 2008, he shared with his wife Ann, the Canterbury Medal from The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, for “refus[ing] to compromise their principles and faith” during the presidential campaign.[456] In 2012, Time magazine included Romney in their List of The 100 Most Influential People in the World.[457]

Published works

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