The HyperTexts

Mitt Romney Quotes

compiled by Michael R. Burch

Stupid is, as stupid does.
—Forest Gump

There is no sin, except stupidity.
—Oscar Wilde

The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits.
—Albert Einstein

I've been as consistent as human beings can be.
—Willard Mitt Romney, aka Multiple Choice Mitt, Flip Flopney, Mitt Megaflop, Mitt the Flopple, etc.

There is no doubt that Willard Mitt Romney is book smart, since he has two Harvard degrees. But is he "heart smart," an important qualification for an American president? The Pharisees were highly educated, "book smart" and cultured, but according to Jesus Christ, they lacked something essential: empathy for their fellow human beings. This made them pious shams. Is the man known as the Romneybot equally lacking in empathy? If a robot was running for president, just think of the strange things it might say in its attempts to connect with human beings ... but these are things actually said by Willard Mitt Romney, a man even stranger than his name ...

We should double Guantanamo!
Planned Parenthood, we're going to get rid of that!
Let Detroit go bankrupt!
I'll take a lot of credit for the fact that this industry's come back!
(Referring to the auto industry he wanted to go bankrupt.)
I would repeal Obamacare! (Even though Obamacare is modeled after his claim to fame, Romneycare.)
I like being able to fire people. (And he did fire people a lot, as he outsourced thousands of American jobs to China, while investing millions in Chinese sweatshops.)
Corporations are people, my friend ... of course they are ... human beings, my friend!
Now, the banks aren't bad people. They're just overwhelmed right now. They're overwhelmed with a lot of things. One is a lot of homes coming in, that are in foreclosure or in trouble.
(Romney wants us to have compassion for banks overwhelmed from repossessing so many homes!)
Let it [the home foreclosure crisis] run its course and hit the bottom!
Don't try and stop the foreclosure process. Let it run its course and hit the bottom!
I love the Constitution.

If we properly parse and interpret Romney's remarks above, it seems he has more compassion for banks and corporations than he does for human beings. He opposed temporary loans for cash-strapped American automakers and the millions of workers and subcontractors they employ. He opposed any financial aid for millions of Americans facing home foreclosures. But he favored much larger bailouts for his fellow Wall Street tycoons and the big banks that created the foreclosure crisis with their greed and irresponsibility. What does that tell us about his priorities and values?

American Soldiers are too Unimportant to Mention, per Mitt Romney

When you give a speech you don’t go through a laundry list, you talk about the things that you think are important."
(Mitt Romney, when asked about failing to mention the troops in his nomination speech at the Republican National Convention, Fox News interview, Sept. 7, 2012.)

Immoral Aid?  

As Hurricane Sandy threatened 50 million American with devastating floods, I was reminded of Mitt Romney's statement that it is "immoral" to borrow money to help flood victims. Romney, a former Mormon Bishop and therefore someone who should presumably understand the term, didn't call it "immoral" for the federal government to borrow billions to bail out the Olympic games, or his rich Wall Street cronies. He obviously doesn't consider it "immoral" to borrow the better part of $7 trillion dollars to rescue the super-rich and increase defense spending for things the Pentagon hasn't even requested. According to Bishop Romney, it seems the only people it's "immoral" to help are the 47% of Americans who need help the most, including flood victims, distressed auto workers, and poor girls and women who need Planned Parenthood’s help with contraceptives, family planning and preventive healthcare.

Romney's Weird and Insulting Attempts at Humor

I live for laughter. But, you know in debates, you ask the questions, you answer the questions. You don't tell jokes. And—as a matter of fact, my sons are little tired of my jokes. I actually like jokes as well as things that are sort of fun. My sons like spontaneous humor, not jokes, but I like it all. Anytime you could laugh—may I go back? I used to watch Laurel and Hardy, the Three Stooges, you know even Keystone Kops ... I watched The Honeymooners. I love humor.

I don’t like vampires personally.

I was a rodent and rabbit hunter, small varmints.

The most notable Romney jokes during the presidential race have usually involved insulting people:

Romney: I know, you haven't got your makeup on yet.
Voter: "I do!"
Romney: Oh! You do, you do ... ha! ha! ha!

I should tell my story. I'm also unemployed, Romney told a group of unemployed people in Florida in June 2011.

I'm not sure about these cookies. They don't look like you made them. No, no. They came from the local 7-Eleven bakery, or whatever, Romney said of some Pennsylvania voters' homemade cookies in April, the joke being that the voters were too lazy to bake their own cookies and that store-bought cookies were beneath him.

I like those fancy raincoats you bought. Really sprung for the big bucks, Romney mocked NASCAR fans wearing plastic rain ponchos at the Daytona International Speedway.

Now I love being home in this place where Ann and I were raised, where both of us were born ... No one's ever asked to see my birth certificate. They know that this is the place that we were born and raised, Romney said on August 24, 2012, the joke being that white people accuse President Obama of not really being an American citizen. Is racism funny, really?

"Look at my record: I vetoed any bill that was in favor of choice."

Where does Mitt Romney stand on a woman's right to choose? As a Mormon Bishop with a Diocese, called a "Stake," by his own admission he told girls to bear unwanted babies, and as governor of Massachusetts he vetoed all pro-choice legislation that crossed his desk, even birth control [RU486] and sex education. In 2007, while campaigning in Iowa, Romney appeared on WHO-AM 1040. The host, Jan Mickelson, brought up abortion, questioning Romney's pro-life credentials. In a video of the encounter, a visibly agitated Romney explodes in defense of his record as an arch anti-choice conservative: "Let me help you understand. You don’t understand my faith like I do. So give me for a moment the benefit of the doubt, that having been a leader of my church, and a Bishop and a Stake President, I understand my church better than you do ... I was beaten up in Boston because I pointed out time and again that I encouraged girls not to get abortions, that I told them to have adoptions ... The [Mormon] Church says, "We are vehemently opposed to abortion ourselves, and for ourselves. But we allow other people to make their own choice. I disagree with that view [i.e., he disagrees with freedom of individual conscience and other people's right to choose]. Politically, I looked at it and said, That's wrong! It's not a Mormon thing, it's a secular position to say, You know, I was wrong. We should have a society with a prohibition on abortion in the following circumstances ... I was governor four years—it’s not just what I’m talking about—I was governor four years. I had a number of pieces of legislation that came to my desk that dealt with abortion, abstinence education, RU486, and so forth. I vetoed any bill that was in favor of choice ... So it’s not just my word you can take—look at my record."

And perhaps we should study his record, and think about what it tells us, before we vote.

Mitt Romney’s War on American Women and Children

Planned Parenthood, we're going to get rid of that!
(What happens to millions of women and children?)
The actions [sic] I’ll take immediately are to remove funding for Planned Parenthood. (What happens to millions of women and children?)
As president, I will end federal funding for abortion advocates like Planned Parenthood. (What happens to millions of women and children?)
I support the reversal of Roe v. Wade, because it is bad law and bad medicine.
(But Romney has never had to face bearing a baby he can't afford.)
I would repeal Obamacare! (What happens to millions of women and children?)
Well they can go wherever they’d like to go. This is a free society. (Yes, for rich elitists, but not for poor women and children.)

What Romney fails to understand is that in states like Texas and Tennessee, Planned Parenthood is the only provider of last recourse for women. Getting rid of Planned Parenthood, which he seems so anxious to do, is detrimental to the nearly three million patients who rely on its health centers for lifesaving cancer screenings, well-woman exams, and birth control.

Don't try and stop the foreclosure process. Let it run its course and hit the bottom! (What happens to millions of women and children?)
I'm not concerned about the very poor. (Not even poor women and their children?)
I didn’t ask you a question! (Romney's high-handed dismissal of Cheryl Arnett, a Craig, Colorado first grade teacher.)
Mitt Romney called the "war on moms" a "gift" to his political campaign, as if the oppression of mothers is good as long as it benefits him personally.

During a 2007 presidential debate, Romney said that he would welcome a consensus that "we don’t want to have abortion in this country at all, period."
Romney said that he would be "delighted" to sign a bill overturning Roe v. Wade and banning all abortions.
I support that [the Human Life Amendment] being part of the Republican platform.
(The HLA would make all abortions illegal, even in cases of rape, incest and a pregnant woman's life being endangered.)
When asked if he believes the Supreme Court should overturn Roe v. Wade, Romney's answer was simple: "Yes, I do."
When asked if the repeal of Roe v. Wade would be a good day for America, he responded "Absolutely."  

Romney publicly announced his support for the Blunt amendment, a bill that was introduced to restrict access to birth control by allowing any employer the right to deny health insurance coverage for any benefit based on a "moral" conviction. Governor Romney is on the wrong side of the public on this issue: 67 percent of American voters opposed this measure . He has aggressively supported this stance, even launching a petition against the Health and Human Services ruling to include birth control as basic preventive care.

Romney once commented that the landmark case of Griswold v. Connecticut — which overruled the state’s right to ban contraception nearly 50 years ago — was wrong, proving just how dangerous he is on women’s health issues.

A new study shows that when women have equal access to no-cost birth control methods, it leads to drastically lower rates of unintended pregnancy and abortion. It's a preview of what Obamacare could look like when fully implemented — and it shows that it works.

Within two days of Todd Akin's "legitimate rape" fiasco, we learned that Akin is actually far less extreme than his party, when the Republican platform committee approved language seeking a constitutional amendment to ban abortions with no exceptions for rape, incest, or danger to a pregnant woman's life. The wording of the GOP’s renewed call for a "Human Life Amendment" echoes what the party approved in 2004 and 2008, so this is nothing new. Reince Priebus, the Republican National Committee chairman, noted that the absolute abortion ban "is the platform of the Republican Party." The Romney campaign declined to comment on the platform committee’s vote, but in the past Romney has endorsed identical language. In 2007, during his first White House bid, Romney told ABC News: "I support that [the Human Life Amendment] being part of the Republican platform." During a Republican presidential debate in 2007, Romney said that he would welcome a consensus that "we don’t want to have abortion in this country at all, period." He added that he would be "delighted" to sign a bill banning all abortions. So Romney is obviously much more extreme than Todd Akin. And yet Romney told a New Hampshire TV station that Akin’s remarks were "deeply offensive" and that he and Ryan "can’t defend" Akin. (Ryan, seated beside Romney, nodded his head in agreement). But Akin effectively tied Ryan to his comment when he confirmed on Mike Huckabee's radio program that by "legitimate rape" he meant "forcible rape," the term that appeared in the "No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act." bill co-sponsored by Akin and Ryan! The bottom line is that—as stupid, evil and offensive as Akin's comments were—Paul Ryan is just as bad, and Mitt Romney is far worse.

Mitt Romney is leading the ever-escalating Republican full-frontal assault on American women's rights. If there was an Olympics for male chauvinism, Romney and the Romulans would undoubtedly sweep gold, silver and bronze. A recent Guttmacher Institute report reveals the startling extent of the GOP's war on women’s reproductive rights: "By almost any measure, issues related to reproductive health and rights at the state level received unprecedented attention in 2011. In the 50 states combined, legislators introduced more than 1,100 reproductive health and rights-related provisions ..."

I have spoken with medical professionals to determine whether the drug contemplated under the bill would simply prevent conception or whether it would also terminate a living embryo after conception. Once it became clear that the latter was the case, my decision was straightforward. (Romney reversing himself on emergency "morning after pill" contraception, in the Boston Globe.)

Mitt Romney claims he supports women’s access to contraception, but he also supported legislation that would allow employers to deny coverage for birth control. He claims he wouldn’t take away a woman’s right to choose, but he said he’d be "delighted" to sign a law banning abortion. As President Obama said at a rally today in Virginia, it seems Romney is suffering from a case of Romnesia.

When discussing how the candidates' policies would affect women’s health and rights, Mitt Romney said, "I don't think bureaucrats in Washington should tell someone whether they can use contraceptives or not..." OH, REALLY? 

I went to a number of women's groups and said, 'Can you help us find folks?' and they brought us whole binders full of women.
(It turns out that the women's rights activists sought out Romney and brought him the resumes, which he had not solicited.)

The View is high risk because of the five women on it, only one is conservative. Four are sharp-tongued and not conservative.
(According to Romney, only conservative women are reasonable; all other women are "high risk," sharp-tongued harpies and viragos.)

The GOP Go-Back Team, led by Romney and Ryan, is simply wrong for women. (A Planned Parenthood website post.)

Ann Romney, like her husband, has a remarkable ability to sound condescending:

I love the fact that there are women out there who don’t have a choice and they must go to work and they still have to raise the kids. Thank goodness that we value those people too.

The Romneys' disdain for "those people," by which they obviously mean us, seems obvious. What Ann Romney means seems clear to me: we (the successful people) value (have some minimal concern for) those people (the less successful ones). Thank goodness that we (the successful people) are such saints, considering the other people (ordinary Americans) we have to put up with!

Mitt and Ann Romney: War on Moms is a "Gift" to their Political Campaign

During a closed-door fundraiser in Florida, Ann Romney told the audience that Hilary Rosen's remark that she had never worked was a boon to her and her husband's political campaign: "It was my early birthday present for someone to be critical of me as a mother, and that was really a defining moment, and I loved it." Mitt Romney obviously agreed because, speaking after his wife, he called the ensuing "war on moms" a "gift."

I find it hard to understand why a man running for president of the United States, and his potential first lady, would consider a war on mothers to be a "gift." But that was not Rosen's intention. Rather, she had criticized the Mormonator for turning to his wife for advice on women's economic concerns, when she had never entered the job market and has long lived a life of incredible luxury because Willard Billhard is one of the world's wealthiest men. Most American mothers these days have to work for pay and be their children's primary caregivers. While Rosen's choice of words may have been unfortunate, her point seems valid. Especially when Ann Romney has made statements such as: "My horse has more style and more class in its hoof than they [presumably less affluent people] do in their whole deal!"

Also, the Romneys have made it clear that only rich stay-at-home moms should get credit for working.

Flip Flopney

Romney has flip-flopped repeatedly on women's reproductive rights:

I believe that abortion should be safe and legal in this country.
I sustain and support that law [Roe v. Wade] and the right of a woman to make that choice [abortion].
I will preserve and protect a woman's right to choose and am devoted and dedicated to honoring my word in that regard.
I believe that since Roe v. Wade has been the law for 20 years we should sustain and support it
... [but] ... Roe v. Wade has gone too far.
His position was clear and he gave his solemn word to NARAL Pro Choice ... [but] ... "I never really called myself pro-choice.

Bishop Romney

Willard Mitt Romney is a High Priest of the Mormon Church, and once served as a Bishop over a diocese (called a "stake"). Here are just a few of the many strange teachings of the Mormon church:

• God the Father is a polygamist who lives on the planet Kolob, where he has sex with his harem of wives.
• God the Father had physical sex with Mary.
• Jesus was and is a polygamist.
• Mormon men will become Gods.
• Mormon wives can only enter heaven if their husbands consent; in heaven they will remain eternally pregnant, bearing innumerable spirit children.
• Human beings are not saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, but by participating in the secret sacraments of the Mormon temple.
• Because salvation depends on temple sacraments, Mormon priests can sentence people to hell, by excommunicating them.
• This, of course, gives the Mormon church and its High Priests and Bishops (like Romney) tremendous power over church members.

There are many credible reports of the Mormon church using that power to brainwash and control its members. And it turns out that Bishop Romney has been accused of using ruthless, cold-blooded and high-handed tactics himself, especially against women (which is not surprising in a cult whose most famous—or infamous—teaching is polygamy). For instance, Peggy Hayes, who once babysat Romney's children, said that when she was single and expecting, he showed up at her house one day, demanding that she surrender her baby to the church, via adoption. When she indignantly refused, Romney "somewhat casually" threatened her with excommunication, which was, in effect, to threaten her with hell. It seems Bishop Romney had appointed himself a God, here on earth, with the power to save women or condemn them to hell. Today, Peggy Hayes says, "My son was a gift to me" and "I'm so glad that I didn't listen to Mitt's advice." She thinks Romney is unfit to be president because "He follows the doctrines [of the Mormon church] so closely that he can't waver from it much."

A Concerned Mother Explains Why Mitt Romney Cannot Be Trusted

"My two-year-old daughter, Zoe, was born with half a heart. For her, that is and will forever be a 'pre-existing condition'—she required two open heart surgeries already, and she'll need one more within the next year. At the [first] debate, Mitt Romney told you, me, and everyone else in America that repealing Obamacare would be his first priority as president, including the part of Obamacare that says insurance companies will no longer be able to deny coverage or charge more based on pre-existing conditions. He said his repeal plan will take care of people with pre-existing conditions, but then his top campaign aide 'clarified' after the debate that all he means is he would go back to the inadequate system that existed before Obamacare, which allowed insurance companies to deny coverage and resulted in bankruptcies and broken families. In other words, despite what he said in the debate, his campaign says he has no intention to do anything to help people like my daughter, Zoe, if she ever loses coverage. I don't say this stuff because I'm a political junkie. I'm not. I pay attention to this because I have to ... The stakes couldn't be higher in this election."—Stacey Lihn

More Sh*t Mitt Romney Says

We have a president who I think is a nice guy, but he spent too much time at Harvard, perhaps. (Mitt Romney has two Harvard degrees.)

I like those fancy raincoats you bought. Really sprung for the big bucks. (Romney insulting NASCAR fans for wearing plastic rain ponchos at the Daytona 500.) 

I'm in this race because I care about Americans [but] I'm not concerned about the very poor [and] he dismissed 47% of Americans, or roughly 150 million people, as lazy, irresponsible freeloaders who only think they are entitled to food, housing and healthcare, implying that they are not really entitled to live, in his opinion, since a decent human life requires food, housing and healthcare.

There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe that government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it. That, that's an entitlement.
(Romney seems to be saying that 47% of Americans, or around 150 million people, are not entitled to food, housing or healthcare, which means they are not entitled to live. That seems like a very callous statement coming from someone who has sheltered up to $100 million from taxes. Whose is the greater sense of entitlement, really?)

My job is not to worry about those people (the 47%)—I'll never convince them that they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives. 
(But the 47% includes soldiers, firefighters, cops, teachers, retirees who worked all their careers, and other hardworking Americans. Romney has lived on Easy Street compared to most of them, and seems to have gone out of his way to avoid paying his full share of income taxes. Who is the bigger freeloaders, really?)

Atta girl! (Taunting a closeted gay high school student, Gary Hummel.)

He can't look like that! That's wrong! Just look at him! (Before tackling a gay classmate, John Lauber, pinning him to the ground and cutting off his long, bleached-blonde hair.)

One of Romney's former classmates compared him to the Lord of the Flies, because of incidents like those above.

I didn’t ask you a question! (This was Romney's insulting comment to Cheryl Arnett, a first grade teacher from Craig, Colorado, when she tried to suggest a solution to an educational problem during a roundtable discussion.)

We'll use enhanced interrogation techniques [waterboarding, etc.] which go beyond those that are in the military handbook right now.

I support the use of appropriate and necessary interrogation techniques [waterboarding, etc.] to obtain information from high-value terrorists who possess knowledge critical to our national defense. I do not believe it is wise for our country to reveal all of the precise interrogation methods we may authorize for use against captured terrorists, and I strongly condemn the actions taken by President Obama to do so. [In other words, Romney thinks it is wrong to say that the U.S. will not employ torture, and the "strongly condemns" President Obama for putting an end to torture.]

John Glaser, in a blog post for, says that Charlie Savage's story for the 
New York Times shows that "Romney knowingly signaled that he would reinstitute torture of terrorist subjects." Furthermore, Savage — a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter — wrote that Romney was asked urgently by a reporter at the Charleston press conference "whether he thought waterboarding was torture, and Mr. Romney replied, 'I don't.'"

Mitt Romney explains why he is not qualified to become president:

If I had paid more [federal income taxes] than are legally due, I don’t think I’d be qualified to become president. (But Romney chose not to claim all his charitable contributions on his 2011 tax return, in order to keep his tax rate from falling below the13% he said he never fell below when he disclosed his 2010 taxes.)

In his speech at the Virginia Military Institute, Mitt Romney said:

I’ll implement effective missile defenses to protect against [unspecified] threats. And on this, there will be no flexibility with Vladimir Putin.

The Cold War finally ended when Ronald Reagan formed a friendship with Mikhail Gorbachev that was based on
mutual respect and a willingness on both sides to compromise for the sake of peace. Now Romney and his bellicose neocon advisers want to junk detente and return to the days of nuclear brinksmanship. But the US already has its hands full in the Middle East and with China. Do we really want to bully Russia and risk another Deep Freeze?

No one's ever asked to see my birth certificate. (Goody for Matinee Mitt, but should we be applauding the racism of birthers who only ask to see the birth certificates of people with darker skin?)

I bathe in statistics. (?)

I love this state. The trees are the right height. The streets are just right.
I had catfish for the second time. It was delicious, just like the first time.
I am learning to say y'all and I like grits, and ... strange things are happening to me.
Morning, ya'll. I got started this morning right with a biscuit and some cheesy grits.
(No one calls them "cheesy" grits.)
I was going to suggest to you that you serve your eggs with hollandaise sauce and hubcaps. Because there's no plates like chrome for the hollandaise.
These pancakes are about as large as my win in Puerto Rico last night, I must admit. The margin is just about as good.

Look at us in here! We are all nice together, all nice and wet, you know, like a can of sardines.
That's a big lava lamp, congratulations!
Davy, Davy Crockett. King of the wild frontier!
I'm an unofficial southerner.
Please give us a big hug, that's the girls. I've been getting hugs from the Southern girls ... from 12, to well, a lot more than 12.
I never imagined I'd be up here like Larry the Cable guy
I love the hymns of America, by the way.

Ha ha. We’re in the stretch aren’t we? Look at those clouds. It’s beautiful
[pointing to the sky]. Look at those things!

I should tell my story. I'm also unemployed. (Quite a story, indeed!)
I know what it's like to worry whether you're gonna get fired. There were a couple of times I wondered whether I was going to get a pink slip.
I've got a lot of good friends, the owner of the Miami Dolphins and the New York Jets, both owners are friends of mine
I'm running for office, for Pete's sake, I can't have illegals.
(Presumably when he wasn't running for office, it was okay to have illegals.)
I like being able to fire people who provide services to me. ("Like"?)

I saw my father march with Martin Luther King. (Romney's campaign later admitted that they never marched on the same day, in the same city.) 

My dad, you probably know, was the governor of Michigan and was the head of a car company, but he was born in Mexico. And had he been born of Mexican parents I'd have a better shot at winning this, but he was unfortunately born of Americans living in Mexico ... it'd be helpful if they'd been Latino.

Can you imagine working every day, taking a couple of jobs, saving your money so that your brother could go to—I mean, I would never do that for my brother—that he could go to college.

Everything that Ann and I have we earned the old-fashioned way, and that's by hard work. (But Ann Romney described how they avoided working while Mitt Romney obtained two Harvard degrees, by selling AMC stock given to them by his father whenever they needed spending money. His father bought them a house and paid for Mitt's undergraduate degree and two Harvard graduate degrees. Having two Harvard degrees enabled Mitt to land a plum job and command a high salary right out of college.)

Frankly, I was born with a silver spoon, which is the greatest gift you could have, which is to get born in America. I'll tell ya, there is—95 percent of life is set up for you if you're born in this country. (Well, yes, if your father happens to be the CEO of a major car manufacturer, a millionaire, and the governor of Michigan. Not everyone is so incredibly fortunate.)

When I was back in my private equity days, we went to China to buy a factory there; [it] employed about 20,000 people, and they were almost all young women between the ages of about 18 [to] 22 or 23. They were saving for potentially becoming married, and they worked in these huge factories. They made various small appliances, and as we were walking through this facility, seeing them work, the number of hours they worked per day, the pittance they earned, living in dormitories with little bathrooms at the end with maybe ten rooms. And the rooms, they had 12 girls per room, three bunk beds on top of each other ... And around this factory was a fence, a huge fence with barbed wire, and guard towers. (Rather than reporting the dire condition of the girls to the proper authorities, the American government and the American public, Mitt Romney invested millions of dollars in the company that owned the factory, Global Tech Appliances, owning from 6% to 10% of the company before finally selling his shares. This fact alone should disqualify Romney from being elected dogcatcher, much less president of the United States.)

... the Fed's buying like three-quarters of the debt that America issues. (Not true. American households and foreign governments buy and hold more American debt than the Federal Reserve, which currently holds less than 20% of outstanding treasury securities.)

It's important to look at your food as you're eating it. Noticed you putting a fork in your finger here, all right … (Romney instructs millionaire donors how to eat at a fundraiser.)

I'm not a big-game hunter. I've made that very clear. I've always been a rodent and rabbit hunter. Small varmints, if you will. I began when I was 15 or so and I have hunted those kinds of varmints since then. More than two times. (Rodents and varmints, really?)

Liquefied coal, gosh. Hitler during the Second World War — I guess because he was concerned about losing his oil — liquefied coal. That technology is still there.
(Romney gushes admiration for Hitler?)

Her positions are not terribly relevant to my campaign.
(Ann Romney's $150 donation to Planned Parenthood over a decade ago is, in itself, not that surprising or scandalous. After all, the Governor was pro-choice in 1994 — he's gone out of his way to say he isn't any more, but his past record is clear. What is surprising is that the man who's tried to wed himself to "family values" would throw his wife under the bus so casually.)

In France, for instance, I'm told that marriage is now frequently contracted in seven-year terms where either party may move on when their term is up. How shallow and how different from the Europe of the past.
(In this bizarre comment, Romney used the occasion of a commencement address at Regents University to condemn a non-existent French marriage policy. The line was picked up, without comment, by the Washington Post; when reporters tried to determine what the candidate could possibly be referring to, a spokesman referred them to France's civil union agreements, but they have no set end dates. One possible source: seven-year marriage contracts are a plot point in the Memories of Earth science fiction series by Mormon author Orson Scott Card, itself a retelling of the Mormon theology in which the limited marriages stand in for the other non-traditional marriage practices of that faith. What's Romney really trying to say here? That the French are Mormons? That they're from outer space?)

If I were Iran, and a crazed fanatic ... (But according to Israel's top general, Benny Ganz, and former heads of the Mossad and Shin Bet who chose to "come clean" publicly, the leaders of Iran are rational actors, not "crazed fanatics.")

We really don't have any option but to keep Iran from having a nuclear weapon. (There is an option other than war and the threat of war, which has worked with Russia, China, North Korea and other nations that have nukes. It's called Mutually Assured Destruction, or MAD.)

We should have been aggressively supporting the voices of dissent in Iran, and when there was an effort towards revolution there we should been aggressively supporting [it.] (Romney seems not to understand how almost every act of American aggression in the Middle East has backfired, costing many lives and trillions of dollars, and making things worse rather than better.)

My own view is that that the centerpiece of American foreign policy has to be strength. Everything I do will be calculated to increasing America's strength ... When you have a big military—that's bigger than anyone else's—you're stronger. (This is why Romney wants to increase military spending to $8 trillion over the next ten years. But George W. Bush proved that having massive military superiority does little good, even against backwater nations like Afghanistan and Iraq. Richard Nixon proved the same thing in Vietnam. Why spend trillions of dollars on wars of aggression that accomplish nothing? It would make far more sense to spend reasonable sums of money on defense and stop using the US military to bully other nations into submission, because it just doesn't work.)

For me, everything is about strength and communicating to people what is and is not acceptable. It's speaking softly but carrying a very, very, very big stick. (This is the definition of fascism, if the big stick is used to unjustly dominate weaker people and nations.)

If you can't act, why, don't threaten. (Since Romney is ready, wiling and able to use force preemptively, according to his logic, he can threaten other nations, such as Iran. Here, he is criticizing President Obama for not being willing to act belligerently, because that makes his threats less credible. It seems not to occur to Romney that real diplomacy is better than either threatening or acting on threats.)

I'm just gonna taste this by the way. I just wanna show you how it's done: You take this in your fork … you put it in …That's good, that's good. (Romney instructs millionaire donors how to eat at a fundraiser.)

This president's failure to put in place a status forces agreement allowing 10-20,000 troops to stay in Iraq? Unthinkable! (Romney thinks we should keep our troops in Iraq, where they would be targets of terrorist attacks and inflame anti-American sentiments. Also, Iraq refused to grant American troops immunity from prosecution, so they could be hauled into Iraqi courts on false or trumped-up premises.)

If something of that nature [Americans being held hostage] presents itself, I will work to find a way to take advantage of the opportunity.

The Palestinians have no interest whatsoever in establishing peace.
(Not true. Most Palestinians and most Israeli Jews want peace. But the leaders on both sides have resisted the compromises necessary for a negotiated peace. Many Jewish intellectuals and peace activists claim that the Israeli leadership is primarily at fault for the stalled peace process, preferring to keep acquiring Palestinian land in the West Bank to ending the military occupation and returning sufficient land for a Palestinian state.)

The thing which I find most disappointing in this president is his attack of one American against another American, the division of America based on going after those who have been successful. (President Obama and the Democrats are not attacking Americans for being successful. They have criticized the current tax system because it favors the super-rich over other Americans. But that is something the majority of Americans agree about. Romney has up to $100 million in Cayman Island "IRAs" so he seems to be a prime example of why the tax code needs to be made fairer.)

Our Navy's smaller in number of ships than anytime since 1917, and this president wants to shrink it. The list goes on. Our Air Force is older and smaller than anytime since '47 when the Air Force was formed, and he wants to shrink it. (But according to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, our navy is larger than the next 13 largest navies, combined, and 11 of those belong to our allies. The second-largest air force in the world is our navy's air force. Russia has only one aircraft carrier, as does China. We are not in danger of losing our military supremacy. The real danger is going bankrupt by using our military for offensive, rather than defensive, purposes.)

If we win on November 6th there will be a great deal of optimism about the future of this country. We'll see capital come back, and we'll see—without actually doing anything—we'll actually get a boost in the economy. (A Romney win will magically boost the economy? Will pigs also fly and the moon turn blue?)

I can tell you I have a very good team of extraordinarily experienced, highly successful consultants. A couple of people in particular who've done races around the world. I didn't realize these guys in the US, the Karl Rove equivalents, they do races all over the world. In Armenia. In Africa. In Israel. I mean, they work for Bibi Netanyahu in his races. (Romney has the same political advisers as Bibi Netanyahu, who presides over a system of racism, apartheid and ethnic cleansing that has been criticized by Nobel Peace Prize laureates Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu and Jimmy Carter, among others. Is that a good thing, really?)

You know that I'm as poor as a church mouse. (Yeah, right.)

We use Ann sparingly right now, so that people don't tired of her, or start attacking. (And yet, miraculously, they don't get tired of Matinee Mitt!)

No Apologies?

I will never apologize for America.—Mitt Romney, in a speech to the Clinton Global Initiative, Sept. 25, 2012

No Apology: The Case for American Greatness is the title of Romney's 2010 book.

We may make mistakes as a nation from time to time and step on others’ toes, and we’ll say we’re sorry for that, but apologizing for America is something I will never, ever do. —Mitt Romney, flip-flopping in a single sentence during a Mississippi town hall speech, March 9, 2012

Internationally, President Obama has adopted an appeasement strategy. — Mitt Romney, blatantly lying in a speech to the Republican Jewish Coalition, December 7, 2011

"He is not going around the world apologizing for everything. I take exception with that." —Colin Powell, rebuking Sean Hannity for repeating Romney's bald-faced lie that President Obama goes all around the world constantly apologizing for America

"Come on Mitt, think! That isn't the case." — Colin Powell, a retired four-star general and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, a former Secretary of State and Ronald Reagan's National Security Adviser, responding to Mitt Romney's backward-looking comment that Russia is "without question the number one geopolitical foe" of the United States, which of course has not been true since the end of the Cold War and the freeing of Eastern Europe from the old U.S.S.R. communist bloc.

"I don’t know who all of his advisers are, but I’ve seen some of the names and some of them are quite far to the right. And sometimes they might be in a position to make judgments or recommendations to the candidate that should get a second thought." — Colin Powell, explaining why Romney seems so anxious to go to war with Iran, for the same reason that his neo-con advisers launched the invasion of Iraq (i.e., over nonexistent WMDs) while working for George W. Bush, MSNBC, May 2012

"I think he really needs to not just accept these cataclysmic sort of pronouncements. I think he really needs to think carefully about these statements because they’re now on the wall for people to see … Let’s not go creating enemies where none yet exist ... Let’s be mature people and look at the reality of the situation and not find ways to see if we can hyperbolize the situation." —Colin Powell, explaining why Romney needs to grow up and start acting like an adult

Host Andrea Mitchell noted that Romney has been attacking President Obama on his Iran policy, saying he’s showing weakness. "Well I don’t know what Mr. Romney would prefer to do," Powell said, "The fact of the matter is we need a negotiated solution and the only way you can get a negotiated solution is to talk to the other side."

Multiple Choice Mitt is America's first ultra-liberal conservative! (Part I)

For me the central issue is that people who are here illegally should be able to apply for citizenship; that should not be prohibited.
[Immigrants] should not be allowed to stay in this country and be given permanent residency or citizenship.

I believe abortion should be safe and legal in this country. I have since my mom took that position when she ran [for Senate] in 1970.
I will preserve and protect a woman's right to choose and am devoted and dedicated to honoring my word in that regard.
I was an avidly pro-life governor; I am a pro-life individual. I never really called myself pro-choice.

It's not worth moving heaven and earth, spending billions of dollars just trying to catch one person.
Of course I would have ordered taking out Osama bin Laden.

I believe the world is getting warmer ... I believe humans contribute to that.
My view is that we don't know what's causing climate change on this planet.

I longed in many respects to actually be in Vietnam and be representing our country there.
It was not my desire to go off and serve in Vietnam.
[He avoided Vietnam by living in a French palace as a 19-year-old "missionary."]

I believe the tax on capital gains should be zero.
It’s a tax cut for fat cats.

I’m going to take burdens off the back of the auto industry. [Romney later wrote an essay titled "Let Detroit Go Bankrupt."]

I'm a big believer in getting money where the money is, and the money's in Washington.
If our goal is jobs, we have to stop spending over a trillion dollars [more] than we take in every year.

We can raise taxes on the people that are under the age of 55 … I said we could raise taxes.
With regards to taxes, if the economy is in trouble, what you'd like to do is reduce taxes.

I like [compulsory health insurance] mandates. The mandates work.
Being called the "grandfather of Obamacare" is a "compliment."
I would repeal Obamacare ... because it's a "costly disaster."

Multiple Choice Mitt is America's first ultra-liberal conservative!  (Part II)

I’m a strong believer in stating your position and not wavering.
— Mitt Romney

But as we will see, Romney changes his positions more frequently than even the most adventurous porn stars. (Romney's onetime presidential rival John Hunstman called him a "perfectly lubricated weathervane.") Here are examples of why Romney has earned nicknames like Flip Flopney, Mitt the Flopple and Multiple Choice Mitt ...

"I respect and will protect a woman's right to choose."
"I believe that abortion should be safe and legal in this country."
"I sustain and support that law [Roe v. Wade] and the right of a woman to make that choice [abortion]."
"I will preserve and protect a woman's right to choose and am devoted and dedicated to honoring my word in that regard."
"I believe that since Roe v. Wade has been the law for 20 years we should sustain and support it." ... [but] ... "Roe v. Wade has gone too far."
His position was clear and he swore to support a woman's right to choose ... [but] ... "I never really called myself pro-choice."

"I like [compulsory health insurance] mandates. The mandates work." ... [but] ... "I think it's unconstitutional on the 10th Amendment front."
"Being called 'the grandfather of Obamacare' is 'a compliment.'" ... [but] ...  "I would repeal Obamacare" ... because it's a "costly disaster."

"I saw my father march with Martin Luther King." ... [but] ... "I did not see it with my own eyes." [Because they never marched together.]
"I think the minimum wage ought to keep pace with inflation." ... [but] ... "There's no question raising the minimum wage excessively causes a loss of jobs."
"I longed in many respects to actually be in Vietnam and be representing our country there." ... [but] ... "It was not my desire to go off and serve in Vietnam."
"I will work and fight for stem cell research." ... [but] ... "The stem-cell debate was grounded in a false premise."
"Ronald Reagan is ... my hero/" ... [but] ... "I'm not trying to return to Reagan-Bush."
"This is a completely airtight kennel mounted on the top of our car." ... [but] ... "[Animal lovers] are not happy that my dog loves fresh air."
His favorite novel was Battlefield Earth ... [but] ... after people pointed out the book's mountainous flaws, he switched to Huckleberry Finn.
"I don’t line up with the NRA." ... [but] ... "I’m a member of the [NRA]."
"I believe the tax on capital gains should be zero." ... [but] ... "It’s a tax cut for fat cats."
"I’m going to take burdens off the back of the auto industry." ... [but] ... He wrote an essay titled "Let Detroit Go Bankrupt."
"It's not worth moving heaven and earth, spending billions of dollars just trying to catch one person." ... [but] ... "Of course I would have ordered taking out Osama bin Laden."

In a 1994 letter to the Log Cabin Republicans, Romney wrote that he was in favor of "gays and lesbians being able to serve openly and honestly" in the military. But during the 2007 presidential debates, he insisted that they should continue to serve secretly and dishonestly, under "Don't Ask Don't Tell," which he wanted to keep. 

"I've been a hunter pretty much all my life." ... [but] ... I have hunted varmints since then. More than two times." After his staff corrected the first statement above by saying that Romney had only been hunting twice in his life, he issued the second statement as a "clarification." The only "varmint" hunter I can think of is Elmer Fudd, so it seems obvious that Romney is utterly out of his element when talking about hunting.

"Deadly assault weapons have no place in Massachusetts." ... [but] ... "I don’t support any gun control legislation, the effort for a new assault weapons ban, with a ban on semi-automatic weapons, is something I would oppose."

"I believe the world’s getting warmer. I can’t prove that, but I believe based on what I read that the world is getting warmer. And number two, I believe that humans contribute to that. ... And so I think it's important for us to reduce our emissions of pollutants and greenhouse gases that may well be significant contributors to the climate change and the global warming that you're seeing."  ... [but] ... "My view is that we don’t know what’s causing climate change on this planet. And the idea of spending trillions and trillions of dollars to try to reduce CO2 emissions is not the right course for us."

"These carbon emission limits will provide real and immediate progress." ... [but] ... "Republicans should never abandon pro-growth conservative principles in an effort to embrace the ideas of Al Gore."

"I would like to have campaign spending limits." ... [but] ... "The American people should be free to advocate for their candidates and their positions without burdensome limitations."

"Those… paying taxes and not taking government benefits should begin a process toward application for citizenship." ... [but] ... "Amnesty only led to more people coming into the country."

"I’m not in favor of privatizing Social Security or making cuts." ... [but] ... "Social Security’s the easiest and that’s because you can give people a personal account."

Mitt Romney's Nixonian Meltdown: Let's get rid of the half of Americans who don't vote for me, by letting them starve to death!

Here's what Mitt Romney told fellow millionaires at a closed-door fundraiser:

There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the President no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that's an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what ... These are people who pay no income tax ... My job is not to worry about those people. I'll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.

First, it is the president's job to care about all Americans, even those who didn't vote for him. Second, to say that no Democrat works, or pays income taxes is a blatant lie. Third, to call food an "entitlement" is ridiculous. Is it an "entitlement" not to starve to death, in a land of plenty with more than enough food for everyone? Has any American president ever suggested that we should let half the people starve to death if they didn't vote for the president? That seems to be what Romney is saying, in a Nixonian meltdown, as he shares his obvious disgust with the 150 million Americans who have the temerity to think independently and disagree with him.

Lewd, Crude, Rude and Obnoxious

Willard Mitt Romney has a long history of insulting and bullying other people. Here is a transcript of the filmed testimony of Cheryl Arnett, a Craig, Colorado first grade teacher who was invited to participate in a roundtable with Mitt Romney: "When I was asked to speak with Mitt Romney, it seemed like a very important thing to me and I wanted to put a lot of careful thought into what I would say, so I went to the roundtable discussion, very optimistic and interested in hearing what he had to say. When he sat down one, of the questions he asked was: 'I understand there’s a teacher here today, which one of you is the teacher?' So I raised my hand thinking that’s a good thing, he’s interested in education. But it wasn’t a good thing. I – I felt like his view was a little old-fashioned. I was surprised by it. He went on to kind of lecture me about schools and how bad they are. He talked bad about the teachers' union. He was talking about the importance of private schools and voucher systems. At one point, I said to him: 'I have an answer for that.' And he said: 'I didn’t ask you a question!' When I think of Mitt Romney I don’t think of a person that could really relate to small-town Craig, Colorado. Although he came here, I don’t think that his life experience would allow him to really understand the perspective of people that live in a small town. One of the things I like best that Obama has done for education is that he is releasing states from 'no child left behind.' Colorado is one of the states lucky enough to be released. I did not become a teacher to become wealthy or powerful. I became a teacher to make a difference. It’s important to us to have a government and a leader that respects us, who will listen to us even if he doesn’t agree with us. We need to have open conversation and open communication between educators and government, and I think President Obama is the one to do that."

Mitt the Ripper Accuses Ordinary Americans of Envy

Mitt Romney has accused President Obama of promoting the "bitter politics of envy." And according to Romney, if you question the motives and tactics of Wall Street and the big banks, you too are full of bitter envy. Here's an illuminating exchange on the Today Show ...

MATT LAUER: When you said that we already have a leader who divides us with the bitter politics of envy, I'm curious about the word "envy." Did you suggest that anyone who questions the policies and practices of Wall Street and financial institutions, anyone who has questions about the distribution of wealth and power in this country, is envious? Is it about jealousy, or fairness?

ROMNEY: You know, I think it’s about envy. I think it's about class warfare. When you have a president encouraging the idea of dividing America based on 99 percent versus one percent, and those people who have been most successful will be in the one percent, you have opened up a wave of approach in this country which is entirely inconsistent with the concept of one nation under God. The American people, I believe in the final analysis, will reject it.

LAUER: Are there no fair questions about the distribution of wealth without it being seen as envy, though?

ROMNEY: I think it’s fine to talk about those things in quiet rooms and discussions about tax policy and the like. But the president has made it part of his campaign rally. Everywhere he goes we hear him talking about millionaires and billionaires and executives and Wall Street. It's a very envy-oriented, attack-oriented approach and I think it will fail.

Do you question the way Wall Street and the big banks act? Then according to Mitt the Ripper, you must be envious!

The Romneybot Expresses Compassion for Corporations and Banks, but not Average Americans

One of the strangest things about Mitt Romney is that he seems to care more about banks and other corporations than human beings. He actually said:

Corporations are people, my friend ... of course they are ... human beings, my friend.
Banks aren't bad people. They're just overwhelmed right now ... scared to death ... feeling the same thing that you're feeling.

Romney opposed bailouts for Detroit autoworkers and homeowners, but supported much larger bailouts for the bankers and Wall Street tycoons who helped create the debt crisis. And one of the oddest things I have ever heard a human being say is this:

Now, the banks aren't bad people. They're just overwhelmed right now. They're overwhelmed with a lot of things. One is a lot of homes coming in, that are in foreclosure or in trouble ...

In other words, we should have compassion for banks, because they are foreclosing on so many houses that they're having trouble keeping up with the paperwork! Romney also said:

The banks are scared to death, of course. They're feeling the same thing that you're feeling. And so they just want to pretend that all this is just going to get paid some day.

But banks don't have babies and children to feed. They don't have elderly parents and grandparents who face health and financial problems as they age. Yes, banks can have problems. But how can anyone equate a bank's problems with those of families that confront suffering and possibly death if family members become homeless or can't obtain proper medical care?

The statements above were made by Mitt Romney during campaign speeches in Florida, as he asked people to have compassion for banks because they were being overwhelmed with foreclosed houses. Speaking in shirtsleeves beneath a blazing sun, Romney alluded to earlier statements he had made about the need to let the market wring out excesses in the real estate sector so that prices can rebound, as they are slowly starting to do here:

Let it [the foreclosure crisis] run its course and hit the bottom.

His comments echoed his sentiments expressed to the Las Vegas Review-Journal editorial board:

Don't try and stop the foreclosure process. Let it run its course and hit the bottom.

Romney then took a swipe at Newt Gingrich, who at that time led him by four points in Gallup's rolling Florida polls. Recycling a line from his recent debate in Tampa, he said Gingrich was "peddling influence" as a consultant to Freddie Mac, the mortgage giant that Romney said was one of the biggest causes of the housing crisis, built on a pile of government-guaranteed debt. "We can't have an influence peddler leading our party," said Romney, standing on a makeshift stage in front of a one-story house that is in foreclosure.

Gingrich in his response pointed out that Romney made millions of dollars from his investments in Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and Goldman Sachs: "So maybe Governor Romney in the spirit of openness should tell us how much money he’s made off of how many households that have been foreclosed by his investments?"

But as always, Romney refuses to explain why his money and his rhetoric don't jibe.

More Mitticisms

[Russia] is without question our number one geopolitical foe. (Not true since the fall of the Iron Curtain and end of the Cold War.)

England is just a small island. Its roads and houses are small. With few exceptions, it doesn't make things that people in the rest of the world want to buy. And if it hadn't been separated from the continent by water, it almost certainly would have been lost to Hitler's ambitions. (The Romneybot insults our closest friend among the nations of the earth, ignoring the obvious fact that the US was protected from invasion by Germany and Japan by two large bodies of water. And what on earth is wrong with small houses? Many Americans live in small houses. Also, some of the most coveted things in the world are made in England, by companies like Rolls Royce, Bentley, Jaguar and Lotus. Mitt Romney's father ran AMC, which produced lackluster cars like the Pacer and Javelin. Perhaps the Romneybot should try computing facts rather than fiction, for a change.)

I must admit, I can’t imagine anything more awful than polygamy. (Not rape, incest, murder, infanticide, matricide or genocide?)
I like the Twilight series. I thought that was fun.(We assume he thinks the Cold Ones are comedians; well, perhaps compared to him, they are.)
Who let the dogs out? Who, who? (During an awkward photo op with a group of African American kids.)

Conservatism has had from its inception vigorously positive, intellectually rigorous agenda and thinking. (Oh, really?)
I am in favor of stem-cell research. (Romney later changed his stance on federal funding of stem cell research.)
My view is that we don’t know what’s causing climate change on this planet. (The scientific consensus is that excessive carbon dioxide is the primary cause.)

I believe in an America where millions of Americans believe in an America that's the America millions of Americans believe in. That's the America I love.
I'm not familiar precisely with what I said, but I'll stand by what I said, whatever it was.
I'm Mitt Romney—and yes Wolf, that's also my first name.
(Romney's first name is Willard; Mitt is his middle name.)

When John King asked Mitt Romney about federal disaster relief for tornado and flood victims during a Republican presidential debate, Mitt Romney called such spending "simply immoral." But he favored trillion-dollar bailouts for his super-rich Wall Street cronies. When asked about affordable healthcare (i.e., "Obamacare"), Romney accused average Americans of wanting "free stuff."  But Romney favors giving billions in "free stuff" to his rich friends in Israel, where every citizen enjoys universal healthcare, thanks to more than $130 billion dollars donated by American taxpayers since 1949. And it seems Romney has no problem with taking "free stuff" himself, since it seems he somehow managed to shelter up to $100 million dollars in offshore Bermuda and Cayman Island "IRAs." Why does Romney begrudge affordable healthcare to average Americans, while providing all sorts of "free stuff" to himself, his super-rich cronies, and citizens of other nations?

Mitt the Twit
claims London's unfit,
leaves every proud Brit
convinced he's a s**t ...

"Mitt the Twit" is what the British press started calling Mitt Romney after he insulted England during his first attempt at international diplomacy, when he questioned whether London could pull off the Olympics. His rather obvious inference was that London probably couldn't accomplish what Salt Lake City accomplished, because it lacked the leadership (not to mention hyper-inflated ego) of Mitt Romney, the Olympic gold standard. Then, as if to prove that what happened in England was no fluke, Romney insulted more than three hundred million Arabs during his trip to Israel, when he suggested that Jewish culture is superior to Palestinian culture. (The Palestinians are predominately Arab.)

If you could learn anything from the economic history of the world it's this: culture makes all the difference.—Mitt Romney

Mitt really is an insufferable Twit! This is a deeply offensive comment when directed at Palestinians, because their economic problems have very little to do with culture and much more to do with Gaza enduring a naval blockade and the West Bank being subject to a crushing military occupation. Also, there are many nations whose per-capita GDPs exceed Israel's, so Romney's remark was an insult to Jews as well as to Palestinians. A reasonable analogy would be the economics of Jews suffering greatly when the Nazis robbed them of their land, homes, property and jobs, during the early stages of the Holocaust. Were the better economics of Germans compared to Jews the result of superior German culture, or wild injustices? Well, something very similar happened during the Nakba ("Catastrophe") of 1948, when Israeli Jews used superior firepower to rob Palestinians of their land, homes, property and jobs. During the Holocaust, millions of Jews ended up living on the margins of existence in walled ghettos and concentration camps, not because their culture was inferior, but because they were outmuscled and outgunned. Today millions of Palestinians live on the margins of existence in walled ghettos and refugee camps for the same reasons. It is an unfortunate fact that culture alone can do very little for the victims of ethnic cleansing and apartheid. So Romney just comes across as a racist cad, perhaps because that's what he is, or perhaps because he's woefully uninformed, like so many Americans. But at least most of them don't go to other parts of the world to tell the victims of racial injustices that they are responsible for their own misfortunes.

I recognize the hand of providence in selecting this place.—Mitt Romney

This is another racist statement from an Arab point of view, because it suggests that God is a bigot who favors Jews over Arabs. What Romney seemed to do, in his quest for Jewish approval, votes and money, is write off millions of Arabs as being culturally inferior and despised by God. But some Arab nations have much higher per-capita GDPs than Israel, thanks primarily to oil, which has nothing to do with culture. So Romney is shooting blanks ... perhaps because his brain cartridge is empty?

Romney's international act was so pitifully inept that The China Post questioned whether "Mitt's fumbling foreign policy foray" had been planned by the Obama campaign! The Jerusalem Post explained the reason for Romney's racist comments succinctly: it was a question of "how much Romney would abase himself by saying whatever the Israeli right wanted to hear and how big a jackpot of donations [billionaire Sheldon] Adelson would shower on the Romney campaign in return." In other words, the Israel gaffes were blatant vote and money pandering that went awry because Romney is either a racist, or tone deaf to the feelings of Palestinians and their sympathizers.

Rather than admitting his mistakes and promising to do better in the future, Romney proceeded to insult the world press by saying, "I realize that there will be some in the fourth estate or whatever estate who are far more interested in finding something to write about that is unrelated to the economy, to geopolitics, to the threat of war, to the reality of conflict in Afghanistan today, to a nuclearization of Iran."

But what Romney said was newsworthy because he is running for president of the United States, and thus to be the most powerful person on the planet. People have the right to know if he may be an egomaniac, insensitive, or a racist. Here are other quotes that make me question whether Mitt Romney has any business running for dogcatcher, much less the White House ...

We should double Guantanamo!—Mitt Romney

Should we double the size of an extraterritorial prison camp best known around the world as a symbol of torture, indefinite detention and illegal incarceration of prisoners as young as 13 and as old as 98?

No apology!—Mitt Romney

No Apology: The Case for American Greatness is the title of Mitt Romney's book, which he claims to have written himself. And "no apology" is a constant theme with Romney. But Ronald Reagan apologized for mistakes made by the US government. The idea of never apologizing is literally insane. We can imagine Hitler or Saddam Hussein refusing to ever apologize, but they were sociopathic madmen. Can we imagine a wise man like Lincoln, Gandhi, Einstein or Mandela refusing to ever apologize? Of course not. And based on the contents of the book, Romney should immediately apologize for having written it. As reviewer Spencer Ackerman noted, "the remarkable conflation of conservative shibboleths, paranoid global fantasies and deterministic myopia in No Apology makes it difficult to avoid the conclusion that the perennial GOP candidate might have been better off saying nothing at all."

Ackerman goes on to succinctly explain why Romney has no business writing about American foreign policy, much less trying to run it: "So many things are wrong with Romney’s view of an imperiled America that it is difficult to know where to begin. First, the idea that the U.S. is locked in a struggle for global supremacy with 'violent jihadists' overlooks the exponential differences in economic resources, military strength, and global appeal between America and an increasingly imperiled band of Waziristan-based acolytes of Osama bin Laden. Al-Qaeda can attack us; it cannot displace the U.S. as a global leader. It manufactures nothing, trades with no one, and has absolutely nothing to offer anyone except like-minded conspiratorial murderers. In order to disguise these glaring asymmetries, Romney has to use an empty term — 'the jihadists' — which he cannot rigorously define and with which he means to absorb the vastly different aims and ambitions of rival terrorist groups and separate nations like Iran. 'Violent jihadist groups come in many stripes across a spectrum,' Romney writes, 'from Hamas to Hezbollah, from the Muslim Brotherhood to al-Qaeda.' But al-Qaeda exists because it considered the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt too accommodating of the Egyptian government. Hamas has literally fought al-Qaeda attempts at penetrating the Gaza Strip; and Sunni al-Qaeda released a videotape just this weekend that derides 'Rejectionist Shiite Hezbollah.' There is absolutely nothing that unites these organizations in any programmatic manner except Romney’s ignorance, and the expansion of ignorance is insufficient to topple an American superpower."

In the past, the neocons justified the Vietnam War with the "domino theory," which stated that if South Vietnam fell to communism, all the rest of the earth's nations would fall to communism like a row of dominoes. But after more than 58,000 deaths, more than 300,000 casualties, and more than $700 billion (in adjusted 2011 dollars), South Vietnam did fall to communism, without any profound effect on the rest of the globe.

Today the neocons have justified spending more than a trillion dollars on wars in Afghanistan and Iraq with the ludicrous idea that tiny groups of terrorists will "take over the world" if the US doesn't stop them, despite the fact that they don't have navies, air forces, armies or anything it would require to take over even one Western nation. The incredible cost in lives, amputations, mental disabilities and dollars cannot be justified by the threat posed by small groups of terrorists. It's like a herd of elephants being scared out of their wits by a mouse, then destroying their habitat in their wild panic. we seek to establish full equality for America's gay and lesbian citizens, I will provide more effective leadership than my opponent.—Mitt Romney

When running for senate in 1994, Mitt Romney wrote a letter promising a gay Republican group, the Log Cabin Republicans, that he would be a stronger advocate for gay rights than Ted Kennedy, who staunchly supported equal rights for gays, including marriage. But Romney has more flip-flops than Daytona Beach and recently chickened out on the Chick-fil-A versus gay marriage affair, so it's hard to say what he really believes or would do as president. Romney now favors a constitutional amendment forbidding gay marriage and says that he opposes even civil unions between gays. But when asked to comment on Chick-fil-A-gate, he declined. Is that leadership? Don't Americans deserve to know what he plans to do as president? Romney is no stranger to the chicken franchise. In his commencement address to Liberty University, an evangelical Christian school, Romney praised Chick-fil-A founder Truett Cathy, whose son Dan sparked the current controversy by saying gay marriage invites "God's judgment." Chick-fil-A's stance against gay marriage is hardly new. The Cathy family has donated millions to groups supporting anti-gay-marriage constitutional amendments and makes no secret of its socially conservative views. But Romney's 1994 comment above, his contrary comments made before conservative audiences, and his failure to address the larger American public all seem to add up to one thing: Romney either has no firm convictions or he refuses to make them known if that may cost him votes. It seems Romney would turn the White House into Waffle House. When it comes to personal convictions, Romney is no Ronald Reagan, and he falls far short of  George W. Bush, Rick Santorum, Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann, who will at least say what they really believe, however bigoted that makes them appear to people with more liberal views.

I'm not concerned about the very poor. We have a safety net there.—Mitt Romney

Not concerned, when the Grand Old Pontiffs, led by men like Romney, are actively slashing the safety nets, which they deridingly call "entitlements," while preserving tax cuts for the rich and planning more trillion-dollar wars in the Middle East, starting with Iran? Who will end up dying in those unwinnable wars? Obviously, the children of the very poor. So we should all be extremely concerned about the very poor, and the rich, powerful warmongers like Romney who threaten their existence.

When I mentioned [that] I am going to get rid of Obamacare they [the NAACP] weren’t happy ... That’s okay. I want people to know what I stand for, and if I don’t stand for what they want, go vote for someone else; that’s just fine … But I hope people understand this, your friends who like Obamacare, you remind them of this, if they want more stuff from government tell them to go vote for the other guy ... more free stuff.—Mitt Romney

But Romney seems to be all about "free stuff" ... for himself and his super-rich friends. Even if it's "wrong" for poor people to want affordable healthcare for their children and aging parents, isn't it vastly worse from someone richer than Midas to insult them while ripping apart their safety nets so that he can get even richer? (As I wrote this paragraph, I had a vision of Ebenezer Scrooge denying raises to Bob Cratchit while Tiny Tim wasted away without a life-saving operation.) If you're like most middle-class Americans, Mitt Romney wants to raise your taxes. This is the conclusion of report released by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center. They dug into the details of Romney's plan, ran the numbers, and determined how it all shakes out for real people. Middle-class families with children will pay an average of $2,000 more in taxes under Romney, while multi-millionaires would see an average $250,000 tax cut. In other words, Mitt Romney's plan asks 125 families (roughly) to foot the bill for just one of the big tax cuts he'd give one of his super-rich cronies. Meanwhile, President Obama has been working to extend the middle-class tax cuts worth $2,220 a year to a typical family. But Romney and his allies in Congress oppose these tax cuts unless they are attached to even more large tax cuts for the most fortunate families. The Romney campaign disputes this new nonpartisan report, but it won't provide a single new detail about just how they'd pay for tax cuts for millionaires without raising taxes on middle-class families. It's not hard to understand why they don't want to talk about the actual numbers here. But if they have a secret tax plan, they ought to put it on the table.

In the hands of the ayatollahs, a nuclear Iran is nothing less than an existential threat to Israel. Iran’s suicidal fanatics could blackmail the world.—Mitt Romney

But Israeli intelligence begs to differ. Former heads of the Mossad (the Israeli equivalent of the CIA) and the Shin Bet (the Israeli equivalent of the FBI) have recently stated publicly that Iran's leaders are rational, not "suicidal fanatics." Benny Ganz, the chief of staff of the Israeli military, has also called Iran a "rational actor." Ehud Barak, Israel's Defense Minister, and the man most responsible for defending Israel, recently told the L.A. Times that Israel has the most powerful military within a thousand-mile radius of Jerusalem. Thus Israel is more powerful than any nation south of Russia, despite its tiny size, thanks to more than a hundred billion dollars in US-taxpayer-provided money and weapons over the years. Barak is not frightened of Iran, in the least. So why is Romney lying about the "threat" posed by Iran?

Romney seems to be doing what Hitler and the Nazis did, when they claimed that Jews were "dangerous" and that Poland was "dangerous" as pretexts to rob weaker people and launch offensive wars. As reported by The Nation, "The Romney campaign released a white paper [on the "dangers" faced by the US] to coincide with a major address at The Citadel. The cornerstone of Romney’s speech was a gauzy defense of American exceptionalism ... The speech and white paper were long on distortions—claiming that Obama believed 'there is nothing unique about the United States' and 'issued apologies for America' abroad—and short on policy proposals. The few substantive ideas were costly and bellicose: increasing the number of warships the Navy builds per year from nine to fifteen (five more than the service requested in its 2012 budget), boosting the size of the military by 100,000 troops, placing a missile defense system in Europe and stationing two aircraft carriers near Iran. 'What he articulated in the Citadel speech was one of the most inchoate, disorganized, cliché-filled foreign policy speeches that any serious candidate has ever given,' says Steve Clemons, a senior fellow at the New America Foundation."

Shades of Hitler and the Nazis, indeed.

I will not surrender America’s role in the world. This is very simple: If you do not want America to be the strongest nation on Earth, I am not your President.—Mitt Romney

But what Romney and the neocons obviously want is not only for the United States to be the most powerful nation on earth, but to use that power, in the form of unremitting intimidation, violence and war, to force other nations to do America's bidding. And that is fascism, the philosophy of Hitler and the Nazis that "might makes right." If Americans want peace and good relationships with other nations, we need to understand the need for justice, fairness and a level playing field. Just because the United States is more powerful than Switzerland or Iran, does not mean that the United States should dictate unjust terms to Switzerland or Iran.

As President of the United States, I will devote myself to an American Century. And I will never, ever apologize for America.—Mitt Romney

But of course the United States is far from infallible, and when a nation makes mistakes, it should apologize for its errors. Ronald Reagan apologized for mistakes made by the United States and its government, because he was not operating under the delusion that Americans can do not wrong. Hitler and the Nazis had a philosophy of "Deutschland Uber Alles" ["Germany over all"], and we know where that idea of infallibility led the German people: to destruction. Like the Nazis, Romney and his neocon advisors are fascists, and thus a danger to the American people, and the people of the world. When they speak of an "American Century" and "no apologies" they mean the same thing the Nazis meant when they spoke of the "thousand-year Reich" and sang "Deutschland Uber Alles." Sane people do not claim to be infallible, or above and beyond accountability. Insane people sometimes do.

I will reverse President Obama’s massive defense cuts.—Mitt Romney

Romney is lying: there have been no defenses cuts, much less "massive" ones. The US defense budget has grown by leaps and bounds in recent years. Our navy is larger than the next 13 largest navies in the world, combined. The second largest air force in the world is our navy's air force. We have hundreds of military bases overseas, which cost American taxpayers billions of dollars per year. When we use that military power to start wars, the costs quickly skyrocket. Ronald Reagan was wise enough to use military power as a deterrent, and to bring the USSR to the peace tables. But Reagan avoided major ground wars, and when US peacekeeping troops were attacked in Lebanon, he withdrew them, realizing that they could not accomplish their goal. While it is good to desire peace in the Middle East, it is folly to believe that small numbers of American troops can enforce peace or democracy on millions of people who see Americans as foreign invaders (just as Americans would see Muslim troops if they came to the United States telling Americans what to do).

Make no mistake, the ayatollahs in Iran are testing our moral defenses. They want to know who will object and who will look the other way. We will not look away nor will our country ever look away from our passion and commitment to Israel.—Mitt Romney

Romney loves to talk tough about attacking Iran and defending Israel, because that gets him money and votes from Jews and conservative Christians. But informed, thinking people understand that he is suggesting that the US must attack Iran for the same highly dubious reason Iraq was attacked Iraq. We all know how well that went. And the simple truth is that Iran does not have nuclear weapons and is unlikely to have them anytime soon, while Israel has a large cache of nukes, has never allowed inspections of its nuclear facilities, and has never signed a nonproliferation treaty. From time to time the leaders of Israel have issued not-so-thinly-veiled threats that they will use nukes if they can't have their way, and having their way means robbing Palestinians of their ever-dwindling land and water, while denying them freedom, human rights and justice. That, of course, was the primary cause of 911 and two bloody, unwinnable, trillion-dollar wars. The primary danger to the world is not Iran, but Israel and its superpower patron, the US, whenever warmongers like Romney are in power. Their passionate commitment to the Israeli Injustice Machine is going to get a lot of people killed, including American children who enlist as soldiers without understanding the real reasons for the conflict in the Middle East.

It is sometimes said that those who are the most committed to stopping the Iranian regime from security [I think he means "securing"] nuclear weapons are reckless and provocative and inviting war. The opposite is true. We are the true peacemakers.—Mitt Romney

Romney is not a "peacemaker." His advisors and supporters include the same neocons (emphasis on "cons") who engineered the illegal invasion of Iraq on false premises. The chief neocon and engineer of the war with Iraq, former Vice President Dick Cheney, recently gave Romney his seal of approval, saying he was the "only" candidate to trust on tough foreign policy decisions. Cheney was the real author of George W. Bush's "freedom agenda," which had nothing to do with freedom and everything to do with "big oil" men like Bush and Cheney trying to secure Iraq's oil fields. But their evil scheme only sent the price of oil soaring, resulting in a decade-long global recession that has cost the citizens of the world trillions of dollars and resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths and millions of people being left maimed, displaced and/or homeless.

As Ari Berman recently pointed out in a article for The Nation, "Romney is loath to mention [George W.] Bush on the campaign trail, for obvious reasons, but today they sound like ideological soul mates on foreign policy. Listening to Romney, you’d never know that Bush left office bogged down by two unpopular wars that cost America dearly in blood and treasure. Of Romney’s forty identified foreign policy advisers, more than 70 percent worked for Bush. Many hail from the neoconservative wing of the party, were enthusiastic backers of the Iraq War and are proponents of a US or Israeli attack on Iran ... On some key issues, like Iran, Romney and his team are to the right of Bush. Romney’s embrace of the neoconservative cause—even if done cynically to woo the right—could turn into a policy nightmare if he becomes president. If we take the candidate at his word, a Romney presidency would move toward war against Iran; closely align Washington with the Israeli right; leave troops in Afghanistan at least until 2014 and refuse to negotiate with the Taliban; reset the Obama administration’s "reset" with Russia; and pursue a Reagan-like military buildup at home. The Washington Monthly dubbed Romney’s foreign policy vision the 'more enemies, fewer friends' doctrine, which is chillingly reminiscent of the world Obama inherited from Bush ... Romney's malleability is an advantage for his neocon advisers, giving them an opportunity to shape his worldview, as they did with Bush after 9/11. Four years after Bush left office in disgrace, Romney is their best shot to get back in power."

Need I say more? Like Bush, Romney is putty in the hands of neocons who see war as the "path to peace." But since the Vietnam War, their "freedom agenda" has only resulted in mayhem, and their wars and covert operations have turned the rest of the world against the US, which is now considered to be an enemy of peace by billions of people, and understandably so.

As Christopher Preble, a foreign policy expert at the Cato Institute recently pointed out, "Romney’s likely to be in the mold of George W. Bush when it comes to foreign policy if he were elected."

I will reaffirm as a vital national interest Israel’s existence as a Jewish state.—Mitt Romney

Why is it in the "national interest" of the United States for Israel to be defined in racist terms, as a Jewish state? Isn't that like asking black Americans to pledge fealty to a "white United States"? Should American taxpayers be forced to pay billions of dollars so that Israeli Jews can do to Palestinians, what white supremacists once did to black Americans?

I should tell my story. I'm also unemployed.—Mitt Romney

Romney, speaking to unemployed Floridians, demonstrated an amazing lack of empathy and concern for people who are actually down on their luck. His net worth has been estimated at $200 to $250 million.

I get speaker's fees from time to time, but not very much. —Mitt Romney

Romney earned $374,000 in speaking fees in a single year, according to his personal financial disclosure. Once again Romney demonstrated his extreme disconnect from average Americans, who would consider making that kind of money from a few speaking engagements a real windfall (please pardon the pun).

I purchased a gun when I was a young man. I've been a hunter pretty much all my life.—Mitt Romney

Romney's campaign later said he'd been hunting twice, once when he was 15, the other time at a Republican fundraiser when he was 59. Hunting twice in 44 years hardly qualifies one as the Great White Hunter, but perhaps more unsettling than his blatant vote-pandering is Romney's desire to brag about his hunting/killing prowess.

Corporations are people, my friend… of course they are ... Human beings, my friend.—Mitt Romney

Does the Romneybot confuse heartless corporations with human beings because he lacks a human heart himself?

Planned Parenthood, we're going to get rid of that.—Mitt Romney

Getting rid of Planned Parenthood and denying women access to contraceptives seem to be high on the Republican Party's agenda. But what happens to all the girls and women who aren't ready to become mothers and/or can't afford to have children? Where is there any empathy or compassion for them, or the unwanted babies? Republicans have made it clear that they have no intention of helping out people in need, so forcing girls and women to have babies they don't want or can't afford seems truly heartless. Romney says it's wrong to borrow money from China to fund Planned Parenthood, but he seems quite content to borrow trillions from China to fund new  wars in the Middle East. If it's wrong to borrow a few million dollars to fund contraceptives, family planning and healthcare for girls and women, isn't it much worse to borrow trillions of dollars to attack and destroy other nations?

I would repeal Obamacare.—Mitt Romney

But "Obamacare" is obviously modeled after Romney's own health care plan, Romneycare. Romney claims that the two plans are radically different, but as President Obama pointed out: "We designed a program that actually previously had support of Republicans, including the person who may end up being the Republican standard bearer and is now pretending like he came up with something different." Romney's Massachusetts health care plan served as a model for the Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare"). Why does he now rail against a very similar plan? Probably because the only way he can get elected is to appeal to right-wing conservatives who despises anything President Obama does, on general principle, even if he does what Republicans originally suggested. Repealing Obamacare without coming up with something better might cause American citizens to suffer and die, but that seems to be secondary to the all-important goal of Mitt Romney becoming president, regardless of the cost.

I will never, ever apologize for America.—Mitt Romney

But obviously when the United States makes mistakes, apologies are in order. Ronald Reagan signed legislation that apologized for the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. On August 10, 1988, Reagan said himself that "We admit a wrong." Also, Reagan's Justice Department issued a formal apology to France for protecting Klaus Barbie, a Nazi whom U.S. intelligence recruited and shielded in the aftermath of World War II. Reagan also expressed regret for the U.S. military shooting down an Iranian passenger jet over the Persian Gulf and offered compensation to both Iranian and non-Iranian victims.

I am a big believer in getting money where the money is. The money is in Washington.—Mitt Romney

Romney is a braggart who waffles from position to position, depending on the people he's trying to impress or gain votes from. When he's appealing to conservatives for votes, he's a down-on-his-luck unemployed hunter who deplores Washington insiders and spending. But when he's trying to impress someone else, he's the consummate Washington insider who knows how the get the big bucks from the federal government. Romney called the auto industry bailouts "crony capitalism on a grand scale," but he wasn't above lobbying Congress to bail out the Salt Lake City Olympics, an intervention that ended up costing US taxpayers about $1.3 billion, according to TIME (August 29, 2011).

Before I made a statement [about the Palestinians] I’d get on the phone to my friend Bibi Netanyahu and say: "Would it help if I say this? What would you like me to do?"—Mitt Romney

Here's an excerpt from the New York Times about the statement above, which seems to suggest that Romney will allow Israel to either set or direct US foreign policy in the Middle East: "Romney has suggested that he would not make any significant policy decisions about Israel without consulting Mr. Netanyahu — a level of deference that could raise eyebrows given Mr. Netanyahu’s polarizing reputation, even as it appeals to the neoconservatives and evangelical Christians who are fiercely protective of Israel. In a telling exchange during a debate in December, Mr. Romney criticized Mr. Gingrich for making a disparaging remark about Palestinians, declaring: 'Before I made a statement of that nature, I’d get on the phone to my friend Bibi Netanyahu and say: ‘Would it help if I say this? What would you like me to do?’' Martin S. Indyk, a United States ambassador to Israel in the Clinton administration, said that whether intentional or not, Mr. Romney’s statement implied that he would "subcontract Middle East policy to Israel." "That, of course, would be inappropriate," he added.

PETA is not happy that my dog likes fresh air.—Mitt Romney

Oh, really? Romney strapped a crate containing his Irish Setter, Seamus, to the roof of his station wagon for a twelve-hour drive from Boston to Ontario. When the terrified dog lost control of its bowels, Romney pulled over, sprayed the car and the dog down with a hose, then resumed driving. PETA president Ingrid Newkirk noted: "Any individual who does something like that may have what scientists term the absence of the mirror neuron, i.e., a pin-pointable absence in the brain of the characteristic which allows the individual to feel basic compassion. The implications are frightening ... Mr. Romney seems to hold the very old-fashioned idea that he needs to actively show he is heartless, hence the hunting claims he has made. Not subsistence hunting, but pride in killing defenseless animals for sport, for fun, for show. In the case of the dog on the roof of the car, if this is true, quite remarkably it obviously wasn't for show as only his own children were watching, a lesson in cruelty that was also wrong for them to witness. There was also the obviousness of the situation. Thinking of the wind, the weather, the speed, the vulnerability, the isolation on the roof, it is commonsense that any dog who’s under extreme stress might show that stress by losing control of his bowels: that alone should have been sufficient indication that the dog was, basically, being tortured. If you wouldn’t strap your child to the roof of your car, you have no business doing that to the family dog! I don't know who would find that acceptable."

Back in high school, you know, I did some dumb things, and if anybody was hurt by that or offended, obviously, I apologize for that … You know, I don’t, I don’t remember that particular incident [laughs]… I participated in a lot of high jinks and pranks during high school, and some might have gone too far, and for that I apologize.—Mitt Romney on Fox News Radio

Romney was talking about an incident in which he and some of his high-school classmates viciously bullied a fellow student, John Joseph Lauber. Romney's classmates who participated in the bullying incident remember it, and have expressed remorse. If Romney can't even remember the incident, that suggests that he either did such things so frequently that they failed to register, or that he lacks normal human empathy and compassion, or both. His laughter while discussing the incident seems to suggest that he still doesn't "get" the seriousness of what he did. Here are the details, from a Washington Post article:

Mitt Romney returned from a three-week spring break in 1965 to resume his studies as a high school senior at the prestigious Cranbrook School. Back on the handsome campus, studded with Tudor brick buildings and manicured fields, he spotted something he thought did not belong at a school where the boys wore ties and carried briefcases. John Lauber, a soft-spoken new student one year behind Romney, was perpetually teased for his nonconformity and presumed homosexuality. Now he was walking around the all-boys school with bleached-blond hair that draped over one eye, and Romney wasn’t having it. "He can’t look like that. That’s wrong. Just look at him!" an incensed Romney told Matthew Friedemann, his close friend in the Stevens Hall dorm, according to Friedemann’s recollection. Mitt, the teenage son of Michigan Gov. George Romney, kept complaining about Lauber’s look, Friedemann recalled. A few days later, Friedemann entered Stevens Hall off the school’s collegiate quad to find Romney marching out of his own room ahead of a prep school posse shouting about their plan to cut Lauber’s hair. Friedemann followed them to a nearby room where they came upon Lauber, tackled him and pinned him to the ground. As Lauber, his eyes filling with tears, screamed for help, Romney repeatedly clipped his hair with a pair of scissors. The incident was recalled similarly by five students, who gave their accounts independently of one another. Four of them — Friedemann, now a dentist; Phillip Maxwell, a lawyer; Thomas Buford, a retired prosecutor; and David Seed, a retired principal — spoke on the record. Another former student who witnessed the incident asked not to be identified ... "It happened very quickly, and to this day it troubles me," said Buford, the school’s wrestling champion, who said he joined Romney in restraining Lauber. Buford subsequently apologized to Lauber, who was "terrified," he said. "What a senseless, stupid, idiotic thing to do." "It was a hack job," recalled Maxwell, a childhood friend of Romney who was in the dorm room when the incident occurred. "It was vicious." "He was just easy pickin’s," said Friedemann, then the student prefect, or student authority leader of Stevens Hall, expressing remorse about his failure to stop it.

David Seed, an onlooker who did not participate in the bullying, later apologized to Lauber for not doing more to help prevent it. The only person involved not to express remorse, and who claims not to remember what happened, is Romney. According to his campaign spokeswoman, Andrea Saul, "Governor Romney has no memory of participating in these incidents."

Atta girl!—Mitt Romney taunting a closeted gay high school student, Gary Hummel

Here's what Amy Davidson wrote about the first incident for The New Yorker: "Does he [Romney] count this as a high jink or a prank? It was neither; it is hard to imagine that hurt, rather than being the byproduct, was anything other than the point of the attack on Lauber. In terms of what a gay teen-ager might encounter, and what other boys might go along with at a school like Cranbrook, 1965 was different; but memory and empathy are not qualities that have only been invented since then. As our country has changed, and the other boys became men, they seem to have turned the events of that day over in their minds, not once, but many times, and made something new out of it. That’s why it’s all the worse that Romney says he can’t remember—that he walked blithely away from the boy crying on the ground and kept going. Was there nowhere in him for that sight to lodge? ... And how far has Romney moved? This story is resonant because one can, all too easily, see Romney walking away even now, or simply failing to connect, to grasp hurt ... Who else might he walk away from?"

Josh Barro, writing for Forbes, made another very interesting point: "The story is more damning for Romney in other ways. It’s telling that the campaign seems to be having so much difficulty finding any friends from the Cranbrook School to talk to the media about what a good guy he was. The Romney camp reached out to Stuart White (who threw the party where Mitt and Ann Romney met) asking him to make supportive remarks. Instead, White contacted ABC News and expressed his ambivalence to do so, saying, "it’s been a long time since we were pals." Another old friend of Romney’s told ABC on background that Romney’s behavior in high school was  "like Lord of the Flies" and that a number of people from Cranbrook have "really negative memories" of him. Is there really no one from Cranbrook that Romney can persuade to vouch for him? The whole thing gives the sense that Romney was a Regina George-like figure in high school—"popular," but mostly because other students were afraid to cross him ... But does Romney have empathy for people who are different from him? The tone of Romney’s reaction today does not look good on the empathy front. Referring to an assault on a classmate as "hijinks and pranks" is pretty tone-deaf ... Romney’s actions as governor also suggest that he doesn’t view bullying as a significant problem. In 2006, Romney threatened to dissolve the Governor’s Commission on Gay and Lesbian Youth, established by Republican Governor William Weld in 1992, and then to expand its mission to cover all youth. The legislature established a independent commission, overriding a Romney veto, in response to these threats. A key part of the commission’s mandate is the prevention of anti-LGBT bullying in schools. His administration also repeatedly delayed the publication of an anti-bullying handbook for public schools, which had been developed in 2002 by Governor Jane Swift’s Task Force on Hate Crimes. Kathleen Henry, who chaired the Commission on Gay and Lesbian Youth at the time, said she thought the guidebook was held up due to its LGBT-related content, particularly content to do with transgender students. Ultimately, the handbook was published under Governor Deval Patrick, six years after it was first drafted."

Barro concluded his article by saying, "This actually goes to Romney’s greatest weakness as a candidate. Nobody knows how he really feels or what he cares about. People look at him and they can’t see evidence that he understands or cares about their needs. They’re not sure he can relate to people who are different from him. This incident, and his nonchalant reaction to being reminded about it, reinforce the impression that Romney lacks empathy."

Here's a comment I found online that I believe makes germane points about Romney: "The classic definition of a sociopath is someone who can feel his own pain, but is incapable of feeling another's. Remember how desperately wounded George Bush felt when Kanye West accused him of not caring about black people? And how utterly untouched he appeared to be in the face of 1500+ such black people, dead in New Orleans? Classic sociopath. Mitt Romney suffers from exactly the same pathology—strap the dog on the roof of the car and off you go on your nice vacation. Trim the hair on the "maybe homosexual" because he shouldn't look like that, and off you go to finish your homework. There's a piece missing in Mitt, and it's an essential quality in the man or woman this country needs as its President at this time in our history. We need a Lincoln or a Franklin Roosevelt—someone with not only the necessary talents, skills, capabilities, experience, etc. to lead this nation, but someone who also possesses the capacity for empathy and the moral compass required to understand in which direction we should be headed. Mitt Romney is not the man we need—now or ever—and he would be a total disaster as President of the United States. Vote."

Here's another pertinent comment that I found online: "Like most people, I don't believe he wouldn't remember an incident like this! But for the sake of argument, if a person really did not remember holding a kid down and cutting [his] hair wouldn't the natural reaction to be horrified and indignantly deny the accusation? Just saying 'I don't remember' without expressing any outrage is alarming and emotionally backwards in and of itself. Unlike most people posting, I really was leaning towards voting for Romney but this story sounds bad any which way you look at it. Also, on a purely pragmatic level. I think that this kind of bullying shows a low level of emotional intelligence that could actually be dangerous when it comes to negotiating with enemies or dealing with truly tough, real-world situations. Regardless of political leanings, any leader who is strong and effective has to also be sensitive, quick with nuance, and have sharp instincts in order to survive and fight in hard times. All in all, a very worrying story."

And here's a third comment: "I'm sorry, but I must speak my mind on this. I think the concern over this—and a pattern of other incidents—extends far beyond whether he was a spoiled, rich boy. The real concern about Romney is that his actual behavior displays anti-social tendencies, i.e., sociopathic. Sociopaths are very, very good at concealing their real "feelings," if you can call them that, as they climb to the top of the human pyramid. They crave power over others, and see no reason for the normal humility and concerns that many of us feel when in the public's service. Here are a list of qualities for the anti-social, sociopathic person:—Glibness and Superficial Charm: Check.—Manipulative: One doctor's definition: "Fail to recognize the rights of others and see their self-serving behaviors as permissible. They appear to be charming, yet are covertly hostile and domineering, seeing their victim as merely an instrument to be used. They may dominate and humiliate their victims." The story speaks for itself. Check.—Grandiose Sense of Self: Check.—Pathological Lying: No memory? At all? No problem saying so? Check.—Lack of Remorse, Shame or Guilt: Third-person apology? Check.—Shallow Emotions: Another definition: "When they show what seems to be warmth, joy, love and compassion it is more feigned than experienced and serves an ulterior motive. Outraged by insignificant matters, yet remaining unmoved and cold by what would upset a normal person. Since they are not genuine, neither are their promises." A politician's promises? Not genuine? The flip flopping on what should be heart-felt social issues attests to this issue. Check.—Callousness/Lack of Empathy: Well, that is what this article is about. The excitement of cruelty is one of the few, tenuous connections to true emotions they are capable of, which if emphasized, extends into psychotic behaviors. Thus, this story from Romney's past is not only revelatory, but deeply concerning. Is the Mormon persona something that he is using as a disguise, a red herring? If it is, he probably wouldn't know himself, since his brain may be disconnected from the genuine and sincere feelings the rest of us experience daily. I am very, deeply concerned. God bless America. We may be in great need of His help, very soon."

Romney's Fiscal Insanity

Romney claims to have a plan for America's financial salvation. He confidently announces that he will put Americans back to work, end Obamacare with a wave of his magic wand, balance the budget, restore the federal government's AAA credit rating, etc. But in reality his "plan" boils down to throwing even more money at the super-rich, due to the failed thinking that making the rich richer will cause money to "trickle down" to the less affluent. Albert Einstein, a very smart cookie, once defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again, hoping for different results. By that rule of thumb, Romney is insane, and so is the GOP.

After his primary victories in Michigan and Arizona, Romney detailed a list of tax changes designed to delight wealthy Americans, while sending everyone else to the poorhouse. He promised to enact an "across-the-board, 20 percent rate cut for every American," to "repeal the Alternative Minimum Tax," and abolish the "death tax" ("death tax" is conservative-speak for the estate tax paid by only the wealthiest Americans). He also pledged to lower the corporate tax rate to 25 percent, to "make the R&D tax credit permanent to foster innovation," and "end the repatriation tax to return investment back to our shores."

That's truly wonderful for the Warren Buffets and Bill Gateses of the world, but what about the rest of us?

Perhaps at first glance an across-the-board tax cut sounds nicely fair and balanced. But a recent Tax Policy Center study of the impact of a 20% across-the-board cut indicated that the wealthiest 0.1% would get an average tax reduction of $264,000. The poorest 20% would get $78, and those in the middle would get an average of $791. And the TCP predicted that the plan would add more than $3 trillion to the deficit over the next decade.

Romney Betrays His Roots and Religion

"His father was a beloved governor because he was pragmatic and compassionate and moderate," former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm told The National Memo, referring to the late George Romney, who was a popular auto executive before he was elected Michigan's top official. "Mitt Romney, while he may have been some of those things while he was governor of Massachusetts, is vying to outflank Rick Santorum on the right, and he is not his father. He has morphed into something his father would not recognize."

Like many other Republicans who profess to be Christians, in his eagerness to be considered a "conservative's conservative," Mitt Romney has forgotten or ignored the teachings of Jesus, the apostles and Hebrew prophets, all of whom said that true religion is to practice chesed (mercy, compassion, lovingkindness) and social justice. Ironically, the GOP's alpha males who profess to "believe" in God are now practicing social and economic Darwinism: the survival of the strongest and most ruthless at the expense of everyone else, particularly mothers, children, the elderly, the sick, the unemployed and the poor. Just try finding a Bible verse to support that type of behavior!

Romney Waffles Because He Panders to Religious Fanatics in His Quest for Votes

When asked to define himself in a single word during a recent debate, Mitt Romney chose the word "resolute." But Romney seems to always be willing to waffle if doing so will gain him votes and campaign contributions. Take, for instance, his inconsistent stance on global warming. In his book No Apology, he wrote, "I believe that climate change is occurring — the reduction in the size of global ice caps is hard to ignore. I also believe that human activity is a contributing factor. I am uncertain how much of the warming, however, is attributable to man and how much is attributable to factors out of our control." But if global warming is obviously real, it doesn't matter a hill of beans who is responsible. All that matters is what human beings can do to keep ice caps and glaciers from melting to such an extent that sea levels rise and people and animals living on low-lying islands and in coastal regions begin to suffer and die in large numbers.

But recently Romney altered his position, rather obviously in order to win the votes of conservative Christians whose "faith" leads them to ignore facts and science. Romney now opposes spending money to address global warming because it can't be "proven" that human beings are "responsible." Well, the dinosaurs weren't "responsible" for asteroids hitting the earth and leading to the climate change that caused their extinction, but they became extinct nonetheless. President Barack Obama has taken the much more intelligent and reasonable position that we need to do whatever we can to do to deal with a warming planet and rising sea levels. Republicans like Romney are pandering to irrational people in order to obtain their votes and campaign contributions. That is obviously a very foolish, very dangerous thing to do.

In my opinion, Mitt Romney is neither resolute, nor acting responsibly. He seems to believe that his getting elected president is vastly more important that what happens to our planet, more than eight billion human beings and trillions of animals.

The Romney-Bot Delivers Standard GOP Propaganda

Mitt Romney certainly looks "presidential," but if we tear our eyes away from his impressive figure long enough to actually heed his words, he sounds like a robot programmed to mindlessly drone the standard Republican mantras: "Everything bad that ever happened to Americans is the fault of Barack Obama, and if you elect me I will wave my magic wand and fix everything my first day in office, by repealing this, that and the other piece of socialistic legislation." He makes it sound as if jobs and money will fall magically from trees, the day he becomes president.

But like most robots, Romney seems to lack empathy for average Americans. He is certainly no Ronald Reagan. While he’s not as creepy as Richard Nixon, he seems even more implausibly remote and alien. Take, for example, his recent remark that "I’m not concerned about the very poor. We have a safety net there. If it needs a repair, I’ll fix it. I’m not concerned about the very rich; they’re doing just fine." He seems to somehow calmly equate the pain-wracked struggles of the very poor with the mild discomforts of the very rich (who just happen to be his friends).

And there seems to be a pattern of such disconnects. Not long ago, Romney opined that his speaking fees of $374,327 for a single year were "not very much." In June of 2011, he told unemployed Florida workers that he understood their plight, saying. "I’m also unemployed. I’m networking. I have my sight on a particular job." If he was trying to be funny, the joke undoubtedly fell flat, because Romney has a personal safety net of $250 million and doesn't need the "job" he's seeking in order to feed his family. At one of the early Republican debates, he offered to bet Rick Perry $10,000 — an amount that, however facetious, reminded voters just how rich Romney really is, and how carefree he is about money.

Romney’s $101 Million Cayman Island IRA

How did Mitt Romney end up with a $101 million Cayman Island IRA? It seems Romney may have sheltered all or most of his Bain Capital wealth from taxes by putting it into an offshore "IRA" and only allowing it to be valued correctly once the appreciation was protected from taxes. If there is some other reasonable explanation for how anyone's IRA can be so huge, when contributions are limited to a few thousand dollars per year, I'd like to hear it.

I first became suspicious about Romney's finances when he started squirming like a fish out of water when asked about releasing his tax returns during a Republican presidential debate. I was sure at that moment that there was something in his tax returns that he didn't want the public to see. Ironically, Romney's father, George W. Romney, had voluntarily released his tax returns for twelve years when he became a presidential candidate in 1967. 

But Mitt Romney's public squirmings told me that something was obviously wrong with his tax returns. Then later something in a Huffington Post article about his tax returns caught my eye, because a single Bain fund was valued at $5 million to $25 million, and yet it was called only "part" of his total IRA. Most IRAs are relatively small because the contributions are capped at a few thousand dollars per year. Romney's IRA seemed impossibly large, and it also seemed extremely odd that it was made up of multiple offshore Bain investments in the Cayman Islands, which are world-famous for two things: beautiful beaches and hideous tax shelters. So I began trying to determine what Romney's full IRA amounted to. Here's a Reuters report that I found on the subject ...

How did Romney's IRA grow so big?
by Lynnley Browning
Monday, January 23, 2012

In the wake of news reports last week that presidential contender Mitt Romney owns an individual retirement account worth as much as $101 million, questions are growing over how it could have gotten so big when contribution limits are capped at $5,000 or $6,000 a year.

Tax lawyers and accountants suggest an answer: Romney may have made use of an Internal Revenue Service loophole that allows investors to undervalue interests in investment partnerships when first putting them into an IRA. These assets can produce returns far in excess of those that could be generated from other investments made at the capped level.

An investor could even set an initial value for a partnership interest at zero dollars, because under tax regulations an interest in a partnership represents future income, not current value, said Chris Sanchirico, co-director of the Center for Tax Law and Policy at the University of Pennsylvania Law School.

Whether Romney used this technique, which is legal, when he put partnership interests into his IRA is a question that won't likely be answered when he discloses his 2010 tax returns on Tuesday.

Romney's IRA, valued at between $20.7 million and $101.6 million, as reported by The Wall Street Journal last Thursday, holds stakes in 13 investment entities run by Bain Capital, the private-equity firm he cofounded and led for 13 years.

"One possibility for its size is that he put his Bain partnership interests into the IRA and valued them at a very low number," said David Weisbach, a law professor who focuses on tax at the University of Chicago Law School.

Andrea Saul, a spokeswoman for the Romney campaign, declined to respond to emails and calls.

In the wake of growing scrutiny of his personal wealth, Romney, one of the wealthiest contenders ever for the White House, told Fox News host Chris Wallace on Sunday that on Tuesday he would release his 2010 tax returns and estimates for his 2011 return.

The release will not provide much insight into his IRA. That is because a personal income-tax return shows IRA contributions and withdrawals only for the year of the return, and not for previous years, and does not show whether any contributions were in the form of undervalued partnership interests. While an IRA investor can sometimes be required to file a separate return for the IRA, it is unclear whether Romney intends to release any such returns.

Romney's personal financial summary, disclosed last August under federal election rules, shows that his IRA holds his most lucrative investments, which are stakes in partnerships run by Bain Capital. Those stakes include Bcip Trust Associates III, a Bain fund that is his single largest investment, with assets valued at $5,000,001 to $25,000,000. Bcip Trust Associates III produced income to Romney's IRA of over $5,000,000 over 2010 and through August 12, 2011, according to the summary.

Robert Stack, head of international tax at law firm Ivins Phillips & Barker, said it is possible that Romney's IRA grew so large not only because of an increase in the value of the funds in which it invests but also through lucrative profits, typically 20 percent of investment gains per year, that funds can generate for their general partners.

It is not known whether Romney is a general partner in the Bain funds, meaning invested in the partnership responsible for managing the funds, or simply an investor in the funds. The Romney campaign has declined to comment on this issue.

The general partners' cut of the profit, known as carried interest, is taxable each year if the funds in which the IRA is invested earn certain management fees or borrow to make their investments. Tax lawyers say they want to know whether Romney's IRA holds any carried interest and whether it has paid tax on it—something not disclosed in his personal financial summary or on a federal income tax return. "In the context of a $100 million IRA, that is what we would want to know," said David Miller, a tax lawyer at Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft.

The average IRA held by Americans holds $42,500, according to the Investment Company Institute, a trade group. While the Romney campaign has said that some of his IRA consists of retirement savings rolled over from previous plans, accountants say rollovers would not likely explain the size of his IRA.

"Even if he rolled over a 401k, with the annual caps on contributions, you're still only talking about a few million dollars," said Robert Green, an accountant who is founder of Green Trading, a tax and accounting firm that caters to the investment industry. Last year, individuals could contribute a maximum of $16,500 a year to their 401(k) plans.

Tax lawyers say it is also important to know whether Romney's IRA holds stakes in Bain funds directly, or through related, offshore entities.

These entities, commonly used by tax-exempt investors such as Romney's IRA, legally allow the investors to avoid having to pay a special tax, known as the unearned business income tax, or UBTI.

While the Wall Street Journal suggested on Thursday that avoidance of the special tax was a big reason for the size of Romney's IRA, some tax lawyers said that its size might simply reflect the extreme profitability of a carried interest held by the IRA. "The best guess is that he put the carried interest into the IRA," Miller said.

Romney's IRA produced income of $1.5 million to $8.5 million over 2010 and through August 12, 2011, according to his financial summary, but it is unknown what, if any, taxes the IRA may have paid on its carried interest. Saul, Romney's campaign spokeswoman, declined requests for comment.

(Reporting by Lynnley Browning; Additional reporting by Gregory Roumeliotis; Editing by Amy Stevens, Eddie Evans and Carol Bishopric)

The average American IRA is $42,500, so Romney’s seems outrageously large. His IRA produced income of $1.5 million to $8.5 million between 2010 and 2011, so it seems quite possible that it may be closer to the high end estimate of $101.6 million. Romney’s total wealth has been estimated at around $200 million. If he shielded half his money from all taxes, that would seem to drop his effective tax rate from around 14% to around 7%. And that would explain why he looked like a fish out of water when he was asked about disclosing his tax returns. In this case, I suspect that two plus two probably results in four ... as in four more years for President Barack Obama.    

Is Mitt Romney a hypocrite who accuses ordinary Americans of wanting "free stuff" when they request affordable healthcare, even though it seems likely that he paid virtually no taxes for years, despite being one of America's wealthiest men? Why does Romney castigate ordinary Joes and Janes, if he evaded millions in taxes himself, while supporting trillion-dollar bailouts for his super-rich Wall Street cronies?

Does Romney believe in American exceptionalism, or just his own "exceptions" ... as in unpaid income taxes? If Romney believes in American exceptionalism, why has so much of his personal fortune been stashed in Swiss bank accounts and what appear to be Bermuda and Cayman Island shell corporations?

Have people begun calling Romney the "Romneybot" because he lacks the things that make human beings human: warmth, humor, compassion, empathy, and a sense of fair play and justice? It can be painful watching Romney when he tries to josh around with other people and connect with them emotionally. Something seems to be missing, and he really does act like an android programmed to spit out the correct answers without understanding the questions at the heart level.

Here's what Romney said recently about less wealthy Americans who want affordable healthcare, referring to his speech before the NAACP: "When I mentioned [that] I am going to get rid of Obamacare they weren’t happy ... That’s okay. I want people to know what I stand for, and if I don’t stand for what they want, go vote for someone else; that’s just fine … But I hope people understand this, your friends who like Obamacare, you remind them of this, if they want more stuff from government tell them to go vote for the other guy — more free stuff."

But Romney seems to be all about "free stuff" ... for himself and his super-rich friends. Even if it's "wrong" for poor people to want affordable healthcare for their children and aging parents, isn't it vastly worse from someone richer than Midas to insult them while ripping apart their safety nets so that he can get even richer? (As I wrote this paragraph, I had a vision of Ebenezer Scrooge denying raises to Bob Cratchit while Tiny Tim wasted away without a life-saving operation.)

If you're like most middle-class Americans, Mitt Romney wants to raise your taxes. This is the conclusion of report released by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center. They dug into the details of Romney's plan, ran the numbers, and determined how it all shakes out for real people. Middle-class families with children will pay an average of $2,000 more in taxes under Romney, while multi-millionaires would see an average $250,000 tax cut. In other words, Mitt Romney's plan asks 125 families (roughly) to foot the bill for just one of the big tax cuts he'd give out to folks at the very top. Meanwhile, President Obama is working to extend the middle-class tax cuts worth $2,220 a year to a typical family. But Mitt Romney and his allies in Congress oppose these tax cuts unless they are attached to even more large tax cuts for the most fortunate families. The Romney campaign disputes this new nonpartisan report, but it won't provide a single new detail about just how they'd pay for tax cuts for millionaires without raising taxes on middle-class families. It's not hard to understand why they don't want to talk about the actual numbers here. But if they have a secret tax plan, they ought to put it on the table.

How can someone who gets away with highway robbery turn around and condemn poor working stiffs for requesting a much smaller break? For instance, Romney served on the board of Damon Clinical Laboratories, which pled guilty to charges of defrauding Medicare and agreed to pay what was at the time the largest health care criminal fraud fine in history, over $119 million altogether. Corporate Crime Reporter put it like this: "As manager and board member of Damon Corp, Mitt Romney sits at the center of one of the top 15 corporate crimes of the 1990’s." Romney never reported Damon's fraud to the proper authorities. As soon as Corning bought Damon, it discovered the fraud and reported it. Bain and Romney had earned millions from their investment in Damon, but conveniently never noticed that Damon was obtaining "free stuff" from our cash-strapped federal government. According to a Boston Globe report, Romney, while insisting that he and fellow board members at Damon Corp. uncovered what was later determined to be a criminal scheme to defraud Medicare in 1993, acknowledged that the directors did not turn over their findings to federal authorities then investigating the medical testing industry. While Damon went bankrupt, with thousands of employees losing their jobs, Bain Capital captured a $12 million profit, with over $450,000 of that money going to Romney personally.

Is it fair that Romney made so much money from healthcare, then turned around and mocked much poorer people for only wanting healthcare they can afford?

Please don't get me wrong: I don't begrudge Romney his success or his wealth. But if it's true that he paid virtually no taxes for more than a decade, while amassing a fortune estimated at $200 million or more, that seems terribly unfair to the 99% of Americans who do pay their fair share of taxes. When he mocks and criticizes them, that only adds insult to injury.

Romney strikes me as a hypocritical creep for three reasons: (1) he blasts Obamacare, but his Romneycare was obviously the model for Obamacare; (2) he favors bailing out Wall Street billionaires yet denies average Americans what he imperiously calls "entitlements;" and (3) he has no compunction about taking "free stuff" himself, by evading taxes despite his fabulous personal wealth.

Obviously, there is something terribly wrong when a rich, imperious tax dodger lectures working Americans who pay their taxes about not asking for "free stuff" when, in reality, all they want is a fair shake.

And Romney's hypocrisy about American healthcare seems to know no bounds. When he traveled to Poland, he praised Poland for its economic success, but Poland provides free medical care to all its citizens despite having less that half the per-capita income of the U.S. When Romney traveled to Israel, he praised Israel for its superior economy, which he attributed to a superior culture. But in Israel, healthcare is universal and medical insurance is compulsory. As a result, Israel has the fourth-highest life expectancy among earth's nations, at 82 years. And of course Romney has no problem giving "free stuff" to his rich friends in Israel. (He and Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin "Bibi" Netanyahu are pals.) According to the Washington Report on Middle Eastern Affairs, since 1949 the U.S. government has given Israel more than $134 billion in financial aid. That's more than $23,000 per Israeli citizen. So American taxpayers who struggle to afford healthcare for themselves have probably paid for every Israeli citizen to enjoy superior healthcare, either in whole or in part.

Why do rich Republicans like Romney begrudge the American public affordable healthcare, while helping provide the best healthcare on the planet to Israeli citizens? It seems to me that alpha males like Romney see other people as steppingstones on their path to money and power. Romney doesn't give a damn about Americans not having healthcare, and he doesn't give a damn about Israelis having healthcare. The decisions he makes on issues such as healthcare and taxes are made purely out of self-interest. He didn't pay his fair share of taxes because not paying taxes made him wealthier. He favors giving money to Israel because that buys him Jewish votes and campaign contributions. He derides Americans for requesting affordable healthcare because conservatives hate President Obama and he will win a lot of conservative votes by opposing Obamacare, even though it was modeled after Romneycare. But do we need a president who puts his interest above those of 300 million Americans? Do we want a president who cheats on his taxes, when he's richer than Midas?

Joshua Green, writing in Businessweek, asked the question that's on everyone's mind: "What's Romney Hiding in His Tax Returns?" In his article, Green made the point that because Romney has released his 2010 and estimated 2011 tax returns, but won't release his 2009 return, there must be something damning in the 2009 return. But if the 2009 return was an anomaly, Romney could release his returns for the ten prior years, or at least disclose the amounts he paid in taxes each year, then explain why 2009 was the exception to the rule. So I think it is more likely that there are serious problems with many or all of his tax returns for years prior to 2010.

Matt Yglesias of has suggested a different 2009 scenario: that Romney may not have previously been disclosing the Swiss bank account mentioned in his 2010 return. In 2009, the IRS offered amnesty to taxpayers who had been hiding Swiss accounts: essentially, "Disclose and ante up, and we won't send you to jail." Is it possible that Romney took that deal, which might seem like the confession of a crime to the American public?

Ezra Klein, writing for The Washington Post, speculates that Romney's effective tax rate may have been so low for certain years, including 2009, that to reveal the percentages might be political suicide. My educated guess is that Klein is correct. I think, based on remarks made by "people in the know" like Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, that Romney's effective tax rates for the years 2009 and prior may have been closer to 0% than his 2010 rate of 14%. Thus, Romney can't reveal his tax returns because they make him seem like a shyster. Quite probably, because he is.

His wife, Ann Romney, who has offshore accounts and a horse in the Olympics, recently told Robin Roberts imperiously, "We have given all you people need to know and understand about our financial situation and how we live our life." Like her husband, she seems to think the America public doesn't deserve full disclosure. Who the hell are we to question someone rich enough to have Swiss bank accounts, Bermuda trusts and Cayman Island IRAs?

In any case, it seems Mitt Romney had no compunctions about taking "free stuff" himself. Take, for example, GST Steel. Romney's company Bain Capital bought GST Steel for $75 million, but put only $8 million of its own money into the deal, borrowing the rest. Within a year, Romney and Bain had saddled GST Steel with another $125 million in debt, with $36 million of the borrowed money being paid to Romney and Bain as a dividend. So less than a year after loading the company with debts 15 times the amount they had invested, Romney and Bain gave themselves bonuses four times their investment. What tax rate did they pay on that unearned income? A measly 15 percent, thanks to the "free stuff" available to rich investors in the U.S. tax code. And at the same time Romney and Bain were pocketing $36 million in borrowed funds, they were asking Kansas City to forfeit $3 million in public money for police officers, roads and schools to give them more tax breaks! That's even more free stuff! Furthermore,  when GST Steel filed for bankruptcy and laid off 750 people, it turned out that Bain had underfunded its pension obligations to those employees. So the federal government's pension benefit guarantee corporation was stuck with a $44 million bill. Bain cost the government $44 million for the pensions, $3 million for the local tax breaks and $7 million in federal taxes. That's $54 million in "free stuff" from the government. And that was just one of Romney's and Bain's "success" stories. 

"Mr. Romney’s Financial Black Hole," a July 10, 2012 editorial in the New York Times, explains why the sketchy information released by Romney to date indicates "a concerted effort to park much of his wealth in overseas tax shelters, suggesting a widespread pattern of tax avoidance unlike that of any previous [presidential] candidate."

Meanwhile, in a remarkable accusation, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid recently said, "His father, George Romney, set the precedent that people running for president would file their tax returns ... but Mitt Romney can’t do that because he’s basically paid no taxes in the prior 12 years."

How is it possible that one of American's wealthiest men paid virtually no taxes for 12 years? If Reid's statement is false, Mitt Romney could simply produce his tax returns and disprove it. But instead Romney seems to be confirming that where there is smoke there is also fire, by adamantly refusing to release any of his returns prior to 2010. As a result, even arch-conservatives like Newt Gingrich, George Will, Bill Kristol, Matthew Dowd, Haley Barbour and Michael Steele have added their voices to those of the liberals who have been upbraiding Romney in public. As Will said recently, "The cost of not releasing the returns are clear, therefore, he must have calculated that there are higher costs in releasing them." Dowd agreed, saying, "There’s obviously something there, because if there was nothing there, he would say, ‘Have at it.’" Kristol called it "crazy" for Romney not to release more returns.

But perhaps he can't release his returns, without risking charges of illegal income tax evasion. Is it possible that Romney broke the letter of the tax law, as well as the spirit?
Has he sheltered up to $100 million of his personal fortune in offshore IRAs, as various reputable news services have suggested? If Romney protected most of his earnings  from income taxes, his effective tax rate prior to 2010 may be closer to 0% than 14%, and that would explain him blinking and squirming like a fish out of water when he was asked to disclose his taxes during a Republican presidential debate. When I saw the usually-confident Romney hemming and hawing about disclosing his returns, to a chorus of boos, I knew there was something in them that he didn't want the American public to see ...

During the debate in question, Newt Gingrich pointed out that there was no rational reason to delay disclosing tax returns for prior years, and that American voters have the right to see such returns before they vote. Debate moderator John King mentioned that Mitt's father had voluntarily disclosed tax returns for 12 years, when he ran for president, pointing out that disclosing just one year's return could be seen as non-representative and/or deceptive. But it was obvious that Mitt Romney wanted people to vote before he disclosed any of his returns, and that makes no sense unless there's something in the older returns that he doesn't want American voters to see. (Multi-million dollar tax dodges, perhaps?) In any case, since 1967, presidential candidates have voluntarily disclosed multiple years of tax returns. The first to do so was George Romney. Ironically, the first since then to refuse to do so is his son, Mitt Romney.

Here's my main question: If what Romney did is on the up-and-up, why doesn't he just say, "Look, what I did was perfectly legal, but it is unfair to other American taxpayers, and we need to fix the unfair tax system and close the loopholes." But by refusing to disclose his older tax returns, he gives the strong impression that he did something wrong.

As reported by reputable news services like the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, TIME, Reuters, CBS News and Huffington Post, Romney may have sheltered his Bain holdings from taxes, in offshore accounts. For example, a Bermuda-based vehicle called the Sankaty High Yield Asset Investors Ltd. has been described in securities filings as "a Bermuda corporation wholly owned by W. Mitt Romney." Romney transferred his wife’s newly-created blind trust to Sankaty on January 1, 2003, the day before he was sworn in as governor of Massachusetts. Sankaty's director and president is R. Bradford Malt, Romney’s personal lawyer. Romney failed to list Sankaty on several financial disclosures, even though such a closely-held vehicle would seemingly not qualify as an "excepted investment fund." According to what Romney aides have said the past, some of Romney's funds may have below the $1,000 in assets that would trigger disclosure requirements. But Sankaty was used in Bain's billion-dollar takeover of Domino's Pizza and other multimillion-dollar investment deals. And yet Sankaty was only made public when Romney disclosed his 2010 tax return, after being pressured to do so during the debates. Having most or much of his wealth in offshore tax shelters could easily explain Romney's fish-out-of-water act, when pressured to disclose his returns. And it's hard to imagine that the wife of a multimillionaire has under $1,000 in her trust. Who even bothers to set up overseas trusts for a few hundred dollars? Surely the American public has the right to know why a man running for president has so many offshore accounts that give every appearance of being part of a shell game to avoid US income taxes. Is there any reason to create shell companies in Bermuda and the Cayman Islands, other than to avoid US laws and taxes?

As Nicholas Shaxson pointed out in a recent Vanity Fair article, such investments "provided a lavish smorgasbord for Romney’s critics. Particularly jarring were the Romneys’ many offshore accounts. As Newt Gingrich put it during the primary season, 'I don’t know of any American president who has had a Swiss bank account.' But Romney has, as well as other interests in such tax havens as Bermuda and the Cayman Islands."

To date, Romney has released a full tax filing only for 2010. Former President Bill Clinton recently told NBC's Today Show that Mitt Romney's hesitation to release more tax returns struck him as "odd," saying, "I am a little surprised he only released a year's worth of tax returns. That kind of perplexed me, because this is the first time in, I don't know, more than 30 years that anybody running for president has only done that. You know, it's typical we all release 10, 11 years; I think Senator McCain released over 20 years of tax returns." (And of course Romney's father set the precedent by voluntarily releasing 12 years of tax returns when he ran for president.)

And there is good reason to question whether Romney's "blind trusts" are really blind. For instance, one of the investments that R. Bradford Malt made with Romney's "blind" trust was to put $10 million in Solamere, a company co-founded by Romney’s son Tagg and Romney’s campaign finance chair, Spencer Zwick. The Solamere investment strongly suggests that Romney’s "blind" trust is operating under Romney's watchful eye. And if you don’t believe me, please consult an expert: in 1994, Mitt Romney explained that the "blind trust is an age old ruse!"

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