Mitt Romney (R)

Sadistic anti-abortion counselor? (new!)

On June 9, 2007, the website Scoop had a fascinating interview with Judy Dushku, a professor of government at Boston's Suffolk University who was a member of Romney's Mormon congregation when he served as bishop there. This Q&A relates a shocking story from the late 1970s, about what happened when a member of his churh had to terminate a pregnancy for life-threatening medical reasons:

Judy Dushku: She was a woman about 40 years old, 3 ½ to 4 months into her sixth pregnancy. We’ll call her woman “X”. She was an active member of the ward where Romney was bishop in Massachusetts, at that time in a neighboring community where I was not a member.

X and her husband went to the hospital because she had an aching in her leg. Her doctor was alarmed after examining her, telling her she had developed blood clots and could not carry the pregnancy to full term. He said they’d have to give her blood thinners in order to get rid of the clots and that they would endanger the baby.

X had lost her first baby; the child was born with many physical problems and died at two or three weeks old. X was already the mother of four teenage children. This would have been her sixth.

Suzan Mazur: And X and her husband decided they would abort the child because her life was in danger.

Judy Dushku: Yes.

Suzan Mazur: And she advised her bishop – Mitt Romney – that she was going to terminate the pregnancy for medical reasons. And what did he say?

Judy Dushku: . . . Mitt came in to the hospital. X thought Mitt had come to be comforting because that’s what bishops do. They have a pastoral role. But she said that instead he was critical.

He said – What do you think you’re doing?

She said – Well, we have to abort the baby because I have these blood clots.

And he said something to the effect of – Well, why do you get off easy when other women have their babies?

And she said – What are you talking about? This is a life threatening situation.

And he said – Well what about the life of the baby?

And she said – I have four other children and I think it would be really irresponsible to continue the pregnancy.

X said she found herself arguing with Romney about her medical crisis, said he was very unsympathetic, very critical, and said that under the circumstances in no way did he condone her aborting the child. And he left.

She was extremely distraught. Talked it over with her husband. They decided to go ahead with the abortion. After that she left the church.



Hotel porn (new!)

Mitt Romney has called pornography a "cesspool," and yet as a director of the Marriott hotel chain, he sat idly by as the company made millions of dollars from in-room pornographic movies. The Associated Press got the story on 7/5/07:

Romney, 60, has close links to the corporation, which opened its first hotel in 1957. Not only did he serve on its board of directors, but his given first name — "Willard" — is in honor of the hotel chain's founder, J. Willard Marriott. Marriott and Romney's father, former Michigan Gov. George Romney, were friends and rose through industry together.

In June 2000, J.W. "Bill" Marriott Jr., the son of Marriott's founder, defended the distribution of pornographic movies, saying they were inseparable from the rest of the chain's TV offerings.

"The in-room entertainment operators who provide our systems rely upon a certain volume of movie types in order to be economically viable," Bill Marriott wrote to Bill Johnson, executive director of the Michigan-based American Decency Association. "If we were to eliminate the 'R' and non-rated offerings, the systems would not be economic."



Mistreated family dog on car trip (new!)

In a Boston Globe profile, a cruel detail about Mitt Romney was casually revealed: that during a long family car trip in 1983, Romney had strapped their dog Seamus to the roof rack of his car! Even when the poor Irish setter was forced to relieve himself during his rooftop captivity, he was shown no mercy: Romney just "borrowed a hose, washed down Seamus and the car, then hopped back onto the highway." As Time magazine pointed out on 6/27/07:

Massachusetts's animal cruelty laws specifically prohibit anyone from carrying an animal "in or upon a vehicle, or otherwise, in an unnecessarily cruel or inhuman manner or in a way and manner which might endanger the animal carried thereon." An officer for the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals responded to a description of the situation saying "it's definitely something I'd want to check out."



Would "double Guantanamo"

Conditions in the U.S. detention center in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, have spurred the whole world to outrage. And yet Mitt Romney, in the second Republican presidential debate on 5/15/07, flippantly said he wanted to "double it." CNN had the report on 5/15/07:

When asked about interrogation methods for terrorist suspects, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney said the goal should be to prevent future attacks and suggested doubling the capacity of the terrorist detention center in Guantanamo Bay.

"I don't want them on our soil," Romney said. "I want them on Guantanamo, where they don't get the access to lawyers that they get when they're on our soil. I don't want them in our prisons. I want them there. Some people have said we ought to close Guantanamo. My view is we ought to double Guantanamo."



False statements on Iraq

In the June 5 GOP debate, Mitt Romney told some over-the-top lies about the history of the invasion of Iraq. Asked if it was "a mistake for us to invade Iraq," Romney replied:

[I]f you're saying, let's turn back the clock and Saddam Hussein had opened up his country to IAEA inspectors and they'd come in and they'd found that there were no weapons of mass destruction -- had Saddam Hussein therefore not violated United Nations resolutions -- we wouldn't be in the conflict we're in. But he didn't do those things, and we knew what we knew at the point we made the decision to get in.

But Saddam Hussein did allow the inspectors in -- and they "found no evidence or plausible indication of the revival of a nuclear weapons programme in Iraq."



Contradicted himself on Spanish

Mitt Romney has said that English should be the "official language" of the United States. But as the Washington Post pointed out 6/3/2007, Romney isn't above pandering to a Spanish-language audience when it suits his political purposes:

"We cannot be a bilingual nation like Canada," Romney told the Union Leader in New Hampshire, where few Latinos live, so few were likely to get that message.

Yet down in Florida, Romney was one of the first in the race to air a Spanish-language radio ad, and he is one of the few GOP candidates to have an "En Español" Web option. Click on it, and see one of Romney's sons give a video testimonial in excellent Spanish, acquired during a missionary stint in Chile: "Hola, soy Craig Romney, y les quiero hablar un poco sobre mi papá, Mitt Romney . . . "



Flip-flopped on gay rights

Looks like Mitt Romney was for gay rights before he was against them. In his 1994 failed Senate bid, Romney claimed that gays and lesbians need "more support from the Republican Party."   Romney went on to say that states should reserve the right to determine whether or not to legalize same-sex marriage. "People of integrity don't force their beliefs on others, they make sure that others can live by different beliefs they may have."  

But more recently, in 2005, Romney has supported a federal marriage amendment and spoke dismissively of gay people to Republicans in South Carolina, saying that some gay couples "are actually having children born to them." He has also chided John McCain for wanting to leave the legality of same-sex marriage up to the states. Romney filed suit with the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts to force a ballot initiative banning same-sex marriage on the 2008 ballot.



Hired illegal immigrants

The Boston Globe reported in December 2005 that for years the Romneys have hired a landscaping company that employed illegal immigrants to manicure their Belmont lawn. The Globe tracked down workers in Guatemala who had previously worked illegally for the Massachusetts governor. "For about eight years, Rosales said, he worked on and off landscaping the grounds at Romney's home, occasionally getting a "'buenos dias' from Romney or a drink of water from his wife, Ann."   As governor, Romney has sought severe restrictions on illegal immigration, including working on an agreement with the federal government that would allow state troopers to arrest undocumented workers.



Flip-flopping on abortion, too?

When he first ran for office in Massachusetts in 1994, Romney said he thought abortion should be "safe and legal." In a televised debate with Kennedy, Romney was more specific about his beliefs, saying, "Many years ago, I had a dear, close family relative that was very close to me who passed away from an illegal abortion. . . . It is since that time my mother and my family have been committed to the belief that we can believe as we want, but we will not force our beliefs on others on that matter. And you will not see me wavering on that." In his 2002 race for governor, he continued to say that he would not try to change abortion rights laws, but he qualified his statement by saying he was "personally pro-life."

But Romney's stance is becoming increasingly hostile towards abortion rights. In 2007, Romney told the Boston Globe, "Roe v. Wade approach has so cheapened the value of human life that someone could think it's not a moral issue to destroy embryos that have been created solely for the purpose of research, and I said to my chief of staff, and that's been 2 1/2 years ago, I said to her, 'I want to make it very clear that I'm pro-life.'" As Romney's advisor, Mike Murphy told the National Review , "He's been a pro-life Mormon faking it as a pro-choice friendly." How can conservatives be sure it's not the other way around?



"Tar baby"

Mitt Romney made a major gaffe in July 2006 when he used the racial epithet "tar baby in a speech. The Boston Globe had the story on 7/31/2006:

Governor Mitt Romney yesterday apologized for using the expression "tar baby" a phrase some consider a racial epithet among comments he made at a political gathering in Iowa over the weekend.

. . .

In his first major political trip out of the state since a ceiling collapse in a Big Dig tunnel killed a Boston woman on July 10, Romney told 200 people at a Republican lunch Saturday about the political risks of his efforts to oversee the project.

"The best thing for me to do politically is stay away from the Big Dig just get as far away from that tar baby as I possibly can," he said in answer to a question from the audience.

The expression "tar baby" . .   has been used as a pejorative term for dark-skinned blacks.



Fealty to Salt Lake City?

Romney is a practicing Mormon, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Some evangelicals see Mormonism as a cult that is at odds with Christianity. As recently as 2004, Mormons were excluded from participating in the National Day of Prayer, an event organized by the wife of Focus on the Family, Shirley Dobson. Mormons believe that they have received latter-day teaching of Christ through the Book of Mormon and realized through revelations from a series of prophets, beginning with Joseph Smith, founder of their church. According to Amy Sullivan of the Washington Monthly, "This is all blasphemy to evangelicals; they argue that 'the Bible explicitly warns against adding to or detracting from its teaching' and refer to the revelations as 'realistic deception[s] by the Devil himself."

For the most part, Romney has chosen to keep his faith private, but when in 1994, Kennedy's campaign blasted Romney for being part of a church that did not accept black men into the priesthood until 1978 Romney said he would not "publicly criticize" his church. The Church of Latter Day Saints occasionally speaks out on "matters of principle." Most recently it has come out against same-sex unions.


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