The Salt Lake Tribune: Obama has earned another term Full Text of Mitt Expose

Tribune Endorsement: Too Many Mitts
The Salt Lake Tribune: Obama has earned another term
Nowhere has Mitt Romney’s pursuit of the presidency been more warmly
welcomed or closely followed than here in Utah. The Republican nominee’s
political and religious pedigrees, his adeptly bipartisan governorship of
a Democratic state, and his head for business and the bottom line all
inspire admiration and hope in our largely Mormon, Republican,
business-friendly state.
But it was Romney’s singular role in rescuing Utah’s organization of the
2002 Olympics from a cesspool of scandal, and his oversight of the most
successful Winter Games on record, that make him the Beehive State’s
favorite adopted son. After all, Romney managed to save the state from
ignominy, turning the extravaganza into a showcase for the matchless
landscapes, volunteerism and efficiency that told the world what is best
and most beautiful about Utah and its people.

In short, this is the Mitt Romney we knew, or thought we knew, as one of us.
Sadly, it is not the only Romney, as his campaign for the White House has
made abundantly clear, first in his servile courtship of the tea party in
order to win the nomination, and now as the party’s shape-shifting
nominee. From his embrace of the party’s radical right wing, to subsequent
portrayals of himself as a moderate champion of the middle class, Romney
has raised the most frequently asked question of the campaign: "Who is
this guy, really, and what in the world does he truly believe?"

The evidence suggests no clear answer, or at least one that would survive
Romney’s next speech or sound bite. Politicians routinely tailor their
words to suit an audience. Romney, though, is shameless, lavishing vastly
diverse audiences with words, any words, 
they would trade their votes to hear.

More troubling, Romney has repeatedly refused to share specifics of his
radical plan to simultaneously reduce the debt, get rid of Obamacare (or,
as he now says, only part of it), make a voucher program of Medicare,
slash taxes and spending, and thereby create millions of new jobs. To
claim, as Romney does, that he would offset his tax and spending cuts
(except for billions more for the military) by doing away with tax
deductions and exemptions is utterly meaningless without identifying which
and how many would get the ax. Absent those specifics, his promise of a
balanced budget simply does not pencil out.

If this portrait of a Romney willing to say anything to get elected seems
harsh, we need only revisit his branding of 47 percent of Americans as
freeloaders who pay no taxes, yet feel victimized and entitled to
government assistance. His job, he told a group of wealthy donors, "is not
to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them they should take
personal responsibility and care for their lives."

Where, we ask, is the pragmatic, inclusive Romney, the Massachusetts
governor who left the state with a model health care plan in place, the
Romney who led Utah to Olympic glory? 
That Romney skedaddled and is nowhere to be found.

And what of the president Romney would replace? For four years, President
Barack Obama has attempted, with varying degrees of success, to pull the
nation out of its worst financial meltdown since the Great Depression, a
deepening crisis he inherited the day he took office.
In the first months of his presidency, Obama acted decisively to stimulate
the economy. His leadership was essential to passage of the badly needed
American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Though Republicans criticize the
stimulus for failing to create jobs, it clearly helped stop the
hemorrhaging of public sector jobs. The Utah Legislature used hundreds of
millions in stimulus funds to plug holes in the state’s budget.
The president also acted wisely to bail out the auto industry, which has
since come roaring back. Romney, in so many words, said the carmakers
should sink if they can’t swim.

Obama’s most noteworthy achievement, passage of his signature Affordable
Care Act, also proved, in its timing, his greatest blunder. The set of
comprehensive health insurance reforms aimed at extending health care
coverage to all Americans was signed 14 months into his term after a
ferocious fight in Congress that sapped the new president’s political
capital and destroyed any chance for bipartisan cooperation on the
shredded economy.

Obama’s foreign policy record is perhaps his strongest suit, especially
compared to Romney’s bellicose posture toward Russia and China and his
inflammatory rhetoric regarding Iran’s nuclear weapons program. Obama’s
measured reliance on tough economic embargoes to bring Iran to heel, and
his equally measured disengagement from the war in Afghanistan, are
examples of a nuanced approach to international affairs. The glaring
exception, still unfolding, was the administration’s failure to protect
the lives of the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans, and
to quickly come clean about it.

In considering which candidate to endorse, The Salt Lake Tribune editorial
board had hoped that Romney would exhibit the same talents for
organization, pragmatic problem solving and inspired leadership that he
displayed here more than a decade ago. Instead, we have watched him morph
into a friend of the far right, then tack toward the center with
breathtaking aplomb. Through a pair of presidential debates, Romney’s
domestic agenda remains bereft of detail and worthy of mistrust.
Therefore, our endorsement must go to the incumbent, a competent leader
who, against tough odds, has guided the country through catastrophe and
set a course that, while rocky, is pointing toward a brighter day. The
president has earned a second term. Romney, in whatever guise, does not
deserve a first.

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