Barack Obama vs. Mitt Romney

After a decisive win four years ago, Obama has replaced his “hope” slogan with a ho-hum “forward” tagline. It’s been a rough term due to the still struggling economy, and Obama’s been buoyed by only a handful of notable headlines (Osama bin Laden’s death and the Supreme Court upholding Obamacare). But even with good press, Obama is vulnerable when it comes to Mitt Romney, the Republican business magnate and the once-moderate Massachusetts governor. Romney endured a brutal Republican primary, which he finally won by taking a hard-right turn and watching his challengers self-combust.

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The Grid: The Candidates on 10 Important Issues

Issue Barack Obama Mitt Romney
Abortion Pro-choice; supports Roe v. Wade. Pro-life, would nominate judges to Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade. (Contradicts earlier claims of support of In Roe v. Wade while in Massachusetts.
Climate Change After pledging to pursue climate change legislation in 2008 presidential campaign, has mostly ignored the issue in the White House. Romney has stated that he believes the world is getting warmer, but is not convinced that it’s caused by humans, nor how severe the risk is.
Defense Spending Signed the 2011 debt ceiling deal with the GOP, which reduces defense spending by $487 billion over next decade. When adjusted for inflation, defense budget essentially remains flat. Would reverse Obama’s cuts and increase the defense budget by $2.1 trillion over next 10 years, to 4% of GDP
Deficit Has proposed a budget that he says will cut $4 trillion from the deficit over the next decade; others peg the cuts at closer to $3 trillion. Has pledged to cut $500 billion of government spending each year until 2016, but has not offered a specific plan.
Gay Marriage Endorsed same-sex marriage in May, after years of opposition. Opposes gay marriage.
Guns Obama upset gun-control advocates by signing legislation allowing guns in national parks; has said that he’d like to close the gun-show loophole, but has not made it an issue during his administration. Romney currently opposes any additional gun control legislation, but as Massachusetts governor, he signed an statewide assault-weapons ban.
Health Care Signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) into law in 2010. The law requires Americans to obtain health insurance coverage (expands Medicaid to cover low-income individuals); allows young people under 26 to join their parents health plan; prevents insurance companies from discriminating based on pre-existing conditions; and institutes a penalty/tax—starting at $95—for failing to obtain coverage. The law was upheld by the Supreme Court in June 2012. Has pledged to repeal Obamacare and called it a states’ rights issue. As governor of Massachusetts, he signed a similar bill into law—including an individual mandate—that’s helped raise the state’s coverage rate to more than 95 percent.
Immigration Deporting illegal immigrants 1.5 times faster than George W. Bush, but also signed a Dream Act-like executive order to allow young immigrants brought to U.S. as children to remain in the country. Argued in January that his administration would encourage illegal immigrants to “self-deport;” has pledged to increase the number of high-skill visas.
Medicare Romney/Ryan claims that Obama is cutting Medicare coverage by $716 billion are not true; Obama is actually reducing that sum in reimbursements to hospitals and insurance companies. Romney has endorsed the Ryan plan to give seniors vouchers to pay for Medicare or a private health insurance.
Taxes Proposed a plan to maintain Bush tax-cuts for those making less than $250,000 a year; incomes above $250,000 would go from paying 33 and 35 percent to the Clinton-era rates of 36 and 39.6 percent. Has also pushed for the Buffett Rule, which would require a minimum of a 30 percent tax rate for households earning more than $1 million. Would cut income tax rates by 20 percent and eliminate the alternative minimum tax and estate taxes. To keep his plan revenue neutral, he would reduce deductions for high-income earners, but has not released specifics. There is an on-going debate on whether his plan is mathematically possible.

Know what? I love Barack Obama and am ready to endorse him:

My mind’s already made up. I endorse Mitt Romney for U.S. President: