Mitt Romney: How his campaign unfolded
By Sarah Rix
Republican Mitt Romney and Democrat Barack Obama are in the homestretch of an intense presidential campaign. The Nov. 6 vote will determine whether Obama will win a second term in office or if Romney will become the 45th United States president.
In a volatile American political climate with issues ranging from national debt, tax plans, immigration, health care reform, women’s issues, same-sex marriage, foreign policy and other hotbed issues, both Romney’s and Obama’s campaigns have been under tight watch from media outlets and voters.
Humber News has a 2012 campaign timeline for Romney, a business executive and former governor of Massachusetts. For a look at Barack Obama’s timeline, click here.
Name: Willard Mitt Romney
Birthplace: Detroit, Michigan
State(s) of residence: Massachusetts, New Hampshire and California
Facebook likes: More than 11.3 million likes as of 2 p.m. on Oct. 29
Twitter followers: More than 1.6 million
April 11, 2011: Via video, Romney announced intentions to form an exploratory committee for a 2012 presidential run.
“From my vantage point in business and in government, I’ve become convinced that America has been put on a dangerous course by Washington politicians and it’s become even worse in the last two years…“
June 2, 2011: Romney confirmed his intention to run for president.
“We know we can bring this country back. I’m Mitt Romney, I believe in America and I’m running for president of the United States.”
He also ran in 2008 but dropped out following poor Super Tuesday results. The Republican nomination went to John McCain who lost the election to Barack Obama.
June 13, 2011: After rejecting an invitation to the first Republican debate in May, Romney took part in the New Hampshire debate. He joined nominees Michele Bachmann, Newt Gingrich, Herman Cain, Ron Paul, Tim Pawlenty and Rick Santorum.
Nov. 9, 2011: Romney helped to effectively end Rick Perry’s run during a debate in Michigan. Perry floundered when naming the three government agencies he’d proposed cutting, coming up with commerce and education but forgetting energy. Romney offered “E.P.A.?” – a suggestion Perry took. The gaffe was widely mocked and The Washington Post said it was the end of Perry’s campaign.
Jan. 3, 2012: The first Republican primary happened in Iowa. Romney placed second, losing to Rick Santorum by a narrow margin of 34 votes.
Jan. 24, 2012: Bowing to political and public pressure, Romney released his 2010 tax returns and 2011 estimates. It reveals an income of $42.5 million and a 13.9 per cent tax rate in 2010. Reuters noted this figure is far below 35 per cent – the average tax rate on top incomes.
Earlier in the month in a debate, Romney told moderator John King:
“I know the Democrats want to go after the fact that I’ve been successful. I’m not going to apologize for being successful.”
March 6, 2012: Ten states took part in Super Tuesday. Romney won six of them with nearly 1.3 million votes. Rick Santorum placed second with three states and Newt Gingrich took one.
April 25, 2012: The Republican National Committee declared Romney the presumptive nominee a night after winning five primaries in Connecticut, Delaware, New York, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island.
May 29, 2012: His 69 per cent victory at the Texas primary secured Romney the Republican Party’s nomination.
July 11, 2012: Romney gave a speech to the National Association for Advancement of Colored People. His promise to repeal Obama’s health care reform was met with boos:
“… We have to stop spending over a trillion dollars more than we take in every year. So to do that, I’m going to eliminate every non-essential, expensive program I can find. That includes Obamacare…”
July 25, 2012: In his first diplomatic outing, Romney attracted international criticism on a visit to London ahead of the Olympic Games. Romney said there were “disconcerting” signs about the city’s preparations for a successful Olympics. It was a quote that many people, including British Prime Minister David Cameron, refuted.
Aug. 11, 2012: Romney announced Paul Ryan as his pick for vice president. His speech in Virginia had a problem, however, as he introduced Ryan saying: “Join me in welcoming the next president of the United States, Paul Ryan.“ He later returned to the stage and clarified he had made a mistake in the introduction.
Aug. 27, 2012: Romney received the official party nomination at the Republican National Convention in Florida.
Aug. 30, 2012: Ahead of Romney’s nomination acceptance at the RNC, Clint Eastwood gave a now infamous speech. In it, Eastwood spoke to an empty chair in place of President Obama. The speech gained huge comedy traction and the Republican Party was criticized for scheduling Eastwood in the primetime slot.
Sept. 13, 2012: Romney defended his criticism of a U.S. embassy statement about growing unrest over an anti-Muslim film produced in America. The embassy’s statement condemned the film – a sentiment he believed wrongly sided with protestors. Critics felt Romney was using the crisis for his own political gain.
Sept. 17, 2012: Romney came under fire after a video leaked of him speaking to a group of supporters. The speech seemed to suggest he was unconcerned with a large portion of Americans.
“Forty-seven per cent of Americans pay no income tax… And so my job is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”
Oct. 3, 2012: The first presidential debate between Romney and Obama. In polls following the debate, the majority of watchers believed Romney had come out on top. Obama was said to have seemed unprepared and detached. But despite Romney’s handy victory – with two-thirds of debate-watchers selecting him as the victor – he only received 46 per cent of the public’s vote when asked who was more likeable between the two candidates.
Oct. 16, 2012: The second presidential debate followed a town hall format and showed Obama had bested Romney, 46 to 39 per cent.
The most memorable part of the debate came with Romney’s comment on women in the workforce:
“We took a concerted effort to go out and find women who had backgrounds that could be qualified to become members of our cabinet. 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.”
The “binders full of women” comment went viral, spawning off Internet memes and Facebook groups.
“He didn’t say ‘binders full of women’s resumes,’ he said ‘binders full of women,’” Michael Fil, creator of Facebook group Binders Full Of Women, told Humber News. “The implication was that women were a commodity instead of an equal part of the workface.”
Fil posts about Romney’s platform and policies on his page which has over 350,000 likes. He gave examples to Humber News of Romney’s anti-women platform, citing: “Wanting to repeal Roe v. Wade, wanting to repeal the Affordable Care Act which, among other things, makes it easier for low-income women to receive contraceptives, wanting to defund Planned Parenthood and not supporting equal pay legislation.”
Oct. 22, 2012: The third and final presidential debate focused on foreign policy. According to poll numbers, Obama won the debate handily with 53 per cent in his favour. Romney received 23 per cent of the vote.
Oct. 29, 2012: With the debates now over and the final days of campaigning ahead, Romney is on the road to push his “Day One, Job One” agenda.
He will have to wait for the weather to co-operate, however. Romney’s Monday appearance in Wisconsin – as well as events planned for Tuesday – have all been cancelled because of Hurricane Sandy.
In Romney’s favour is a strong economic background, particularly important in the precarious financial climate. In an average of ten national polls, Romney is polling one point ahead of Obama. His momentum is attributed to a growth in independent voter support.
In order to win on Tuesday, Nov. 6, the Republican nominee will need to take a combination of states that voted for Obama in 2008, with a particular focus on North Carolina, Virginia, Ohio and Florida.