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2012 Presidential Candidates: Where They Stand on the Issues

The 2012 U.S. presidential election is a heated contest between President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. Read about the candidates and where they stand on the issues that hit close to home, such as the economy, health care, taxes, education, and more. Also, read the biographies of Obama and Romney, and see how much you know about the candidates' spouses.
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2012 Campaign Issues, where Obama and Romney stand where Obama and Romney stand on the economy and jobs
Economy and Jobs
Barack Obama

Democrat
  • Continue to work on growing the U.S. private-sector job market
  • Revive the U.S. manufacturing industry and expand skills for American workers
  • Increase exports of American-made goods
  • Invest in the clean-energy sector and new manufacturing technologies that enhance the U.S.'s global competitiveness
  • Continue providing tax relief to small businesses to stimulate local job growth
  • Enforce the rules laid out in the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act to help prevent future financial crises caused by loose corporate regulations
Mitt Romney

Republican
  • Lift federal regulations on businesses to promote economic growth
  • Retrain workers, particularly unemployed individuals
  • Encourage more free trade to grow American exports
  • Confront China to adhere to existing trade agreements and level the global playing field
  • Reform environmental regulations to allow for growth in carbon-based energy industries and allow for further investment in nuclear power
  • Revisit laws that give too much power to labor unions
All information was taken from official candidate websites or video interviews.
2012 Campaign Issues, where Obama and Romney stand where Obama and Romney stand on health care or Obamacare and womens reproductive health
Health Care & Women's Health
Barack Obama

Democrat
  • Continue to defend and implement so-called "Obamacare," the Affordable Care Act, which the U.S. Supreme Court upheld in June 2012, asserting that it will protect people from bad insurance company practices and save them and the country money in the long run
  • Defend the Affordable Care Act requirement that insurers cover birth control with no co-pay
  • Believes in upholding Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that affirmed a woman's constitutional right to an abortion
Mitt Romney

Republican
  • Immediately begin work to overturn the Affordable Care Act; he believes the federal government should not have a heavy hand in health care and that the ACA will worsen the health insurance system's problems
  • Abolish contraception-access rules provided by the Affordable Care Act and eliminate federal funding to Planned Parenthood
  • Believes the Supreme Court should overturn Roe v. Wade, which would leave the legality of abortions up to individual states
All information was taken from official candidate websites or video interviews.
2012 Campaign Issues, where Obama and Romney stand where Obama and Romney stand on taxes
Taxes
Barack Obama

Democrat
  • Temporarily extend the Bush-era tax cuts for those who earn less than $250,000 a year but let the taxes of the wealthiest Americans go up
  • Pursue enacting the Buffet Rule, which would require millionaires and billionaires to continue paying a higher tax rate and reduce the tax burden on the middle class
  • Reform the tax code and close loopholes for millionaires and billionaires, as well as hedge fund managers, private jet owners, and oil companies
Mitt Romney

Republican
  • Make permanent, across-the-board 20 percent cut in marginal tax rate, which means reducing the increased tax burden on wealthier Americans
  • Reduce the corporate tax rate
  • Eliminate the death tax
All information was taken from official candidate websites or video interviews.
2012 Campaign Issues, where Obama and Romney stand where Obama and Romney stand on Afghanistan War and national defense
War & National Defense
Barack Obama

Democrat
  • Continue focusing on defeating al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan
  • End America's combat mission in Afghanistan by 2014
  • Continue to work with China, Russia, and other nations to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon
Mitt Romney

Republican
  • Assess American military presence in Afghanistan and determine whether troops can be withdrawn
  • Increase the national defense budget for increased personnel and modernized defense inventory
  • Find inefficiencies in the Department of Defense budget that can be reinvested into the force
All information was taken from official candidate websites or video interviews.
2012 Campaign Issues, where Obama and Romney stand where Obama and Romney stand on equal rights for women and gay people
Equal Rights
Barack Obama

Democrat
  • Supports gay marriage and wants to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act, a federal law defining marriage as the legal union between a man and a woman
  • Introduced the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration Act and established the Equal Pay Task Force to help enforce equal pay for women and men
  • Supports the Paycheck Fairness Act, a bill that would require employers to demonstrate that any salary differences between men and women in the same job are not gender-related
Mitt Romney

Republican
  • Opposes gay marriage and wants to preserve the Defense of Marriage Act and amend the Constitution to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman
  • Would not repeal the Lilly Ledbetter Act
  • Has not commented on the Paycheck Fairness Act
All information was taken from official candidate websites or video interviews.
2012 Campaign Issues, where Obama and Romney stand where Obama and Romney stand on education
Education
Barack Obama

Democrat
  • Continue to encourage education reform through the Race to the Top Program, which rewards states with federal funding for raising school standards, helping teachers improve, and turning around struggling schools
  • Continue investing in competitive grants to reform community colleges and provide better pathways to employment
Mitt Romney

Republican
  • Shift some power from the federal level to the state level to empower governors to reform education systems
  • Believes in increasing school choice, or the opportunity for parents to pursue enrolling their child in a school that they choose, from public to private to charter schools.
All information was taken from official candidate websites or video interviews.
2012 Campaign Issues, where Obama and Romney stand where Obama and Romney stand on immigration policy
Immigration
Barack Obama

Democrat
  • Supports the DREAM Act, a bill that would allow responsible young immigrants who came to the U.S. illegally as children to earn a path to citizenship by going to college or serving in the military
  • Continue to move the focus of immigration enforcement's resources away from "low-priority cases" like youth with hopes for college/military enrollment, veterans, the elderly, and spouses of active U.S. military personnel while requiring responsibility from others living in the U.S. illegally
  • Increase border control resources
Mitt Romney

Republican
  • Reform immigration laws to allow more visas for highly skilled immigrants, and grant permanent residency to foreign students who obtain advanced degrees in math, science, or engineering at a U.S. university
  • Believes that young illegal immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children should have a path to permanent residency by serving in the military, but does not otherwise support amnesty for illegal immigrants
  • Increase border control resources and persue constructing a high-tech fence
All information was taken from official candidate websites or video interviews.
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