The Book on Romney: McCain’s 2008 Opposition Research File Hits the Web

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Mitt RomneyIn 2008, the staff of the John McCain presidential campaign compiled a dossier on rival Mitt Romney. The file, like all good opposition research, was intended to expose the subject’s weaknesses and vulnerabilities. McCain’s information on Romney does just that, covering a wide range of social, economic, and personal issues.

Leaked to the Internet earlier in the week, the nearly 200-page document is divided into several categories, including one 10-page section devoted entirely to cataloging Romney’s “Flip-Flops.” While the chronology of the cache of information on Romney ends in 2008, there is yet much of interest to be found among the many references and quotes contained therein.

Perhaps the greatest value in McCain’s playbook on Romney is the context it may provide to potential supporters seeking for a greater depth of commitment to the former Massachusetts Governor.

The need for such critical data is urgent as between January 21 and February 28, Republican voters in nine states will go to the polls to select their party’s representative to challenge Barack Obama in November’s general election. The onus is on members of the GOP to choose the man they believe can mount a successful challenge to the political power of the incumbent.

Given the comprehensive scope of the record, it’s necessary to provide only a very superficial survey of the skinny on Mitt Romney. In order to be of most use to voters from South Carolina (January 21) to Arizona and Michigan (February 28), the samples printed here will be organized by topic.


In a poll conducted in May 2011 by the Gallup organization, over half of those surveyed described abortion as “morally wrong.” Among Republicans, that number is likely higher, so evidence of Mitt Romney’s position on the issue is undeniably relevant to many voters. The McCain papers paint a very muddled picture when it comes to Mitt Romney’s views on this most controversial topic.

From the book:

Romney says he changed his mind on abortion [after] meeting with Harvard stem cell researcher — Romney claims the doctor said scientists “kill” embryos after 14 days, but doctor later said Romney “mischaracterized my position.”
Months after his “conversion,” Romney stated his commitment to upholding Massachusetts’ abortion laws and appointed pro-choice judge to state district court.
In October 2005, Romney signed bill expanding family planning services, including abortion counseling and morning-after pill.
In December 2005, Romney “abruptly ordered his administration to reverse course … and require Catholic hospitals to provide emergency contraception medication to rape victims.”
Romney health insurance plan expanded access to abortion, required Planned Parenthood representative on state panel.
Romney endorsed legalization of abortion pill RU-486 access during his 1994 Senate race and backed federal funding of abortion, saying “I think it’s important that people see me not as a pro-life candidate.”
In 1994 and 2002, Romney confirmed his support for Roe v. Wade decision and forcefully positioned himself as pro-choice in 1994 Senate race, saying “you will not see me wavering on that.”
Romney has refused to comment on bill pending in South Carolina legislature requiring that abortion doctors offer pregnant women option of viewing ultrasound.

Gun Control

With recent Supreme Court decisions reaffirming the constitutionally guaranteed right of Americans to keep and bear arms as guaranteed by the Second Amendment, Americans are determined not to let a decidedly anti-gun rights President confiscate their weapons.

On Thursday, former Speaker of the House and current GOP presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich accused Mitt Romney of being a “pro-gun control, pro-tax increase, pro-abortion governor of Massachusetts.” Voters can read the following information and decided if there is anything credible in Gingrich’s description of his rival.

The McCain book records:

In 1994 Senate race, Romney backed Brady bill and assault weapons ban, saying “I don’t line up with the NRA” and “that’s not going to make me the hero of the NRA.”
Romney called Clinton crime bill “a big step forward.”
As governor, Romney quadrupled gun licensing fees and vowed not to “chip away” at tough gun laws
In 2004, Romney signed permanent state-level ban on assault weapons that was mirrored after federal assault weapons ban.
In January 2006, Romney said he owned a gun — then two days later admitted he did not and the gun belonged to his son.
Romney bragged about being member of the NRA but later revealed he didn’t join until August 2006, just before launching his presidential campaign.
Romney recently said he’s “been a hunter pretty much all my life” but later admitted he hunted only twice in his life, later clarifying remarks by claiming he has hunted “small varmints … more than two times.”
In 2006 press conference, Romney claimed he had been hunting “many times” after returning from quail hunt in Georgia.

Taxes and Spending

When it comes to economic issues, there is little argument that the need to reduce taxes and the size of government were primary impetuses to the creation and growth of the Tea Party movement. While its influence may be waning, many conservatives and constitutionalists who do not identify themselves as members of the Tea Party still share those core values.

Romney hasn’t solidified the support of the Tea Party bloc of the Republican Party and at least one of the leading lights of the movement, Senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina, has not only refused to endorse Romney, but has suggested that primary voters take a serious look at Texas Congressman Ron Paul.

From the book:

State spending increased at well over rate of inflation under Romney’s watch, estimated at 24% — more than $5 billion — over Romney’s final three years.
Romney left his successor to fill a budget deficit exceeding $1 billion.
Romney raised state fees and taxes more than $700 million per year, according to independent experts.
Romney raised fees by roughly $500 million in his first year alone, a figure that was highest in the nation.
Romney quadrupled gun licensing fees and raised fees on first responders, real estate transactions, the blind, golfers and many others.
Massachusetts’ state and local tax burden rose more than 7% during Romney’s administration.
Romney enrolled Massachusetts in multistate compact aiming to end moratorium on internet sales taxes.

Finally, there is this little nugget, perhaps the most explosive bombshell of them all in light of Romney’s call for war on Iran. The book reveals:

After calling for economic divestment from Iran, Romney was embarrassed by revelation that the Italian branch of Bain & Company — firm where Romney started as young consultant and served as CEO in early ’90s — received $2.3 million contract from National Iranian Oil Company in 2004.

There is no reason that Bain’s Italian branch should not have been free to do business in Iran, but where is Mitt Romney’s repudiation of the profit he himself made off a country he now regards as an imminent threat to the safety of the United States?

Regardless of the guidance the foregoing can give to Republican voters ahead of the various upcoming primaries and caucuses, the most reliable standard by which every candidate should be measured is the Constitution. Voters should do themselves a kindness and read Article II of that document and then compare the statements made by the slate of competitors at the next debate scheduled for January 23 in Tampa, Florida.

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