Mitt Romney

Candidate Profile |

Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and his running mate Rep. Paul Ryan have made the weak economy the cornerstone of their campaign. In the weeks leading up to the General Election, both parties have focused their campaign efforts on the so-called battleground states _ those that do not reliably vote either Republican or Democratic.

The former governor and business executive has substantial strengths: He's well-known and has a personal fortune. He fundraises through an established network of donors. He's had success in business and knows the logistics of a national campaign after losing the 2008 GOP nomination to Arizona Sen. John McCain.

But critics have slammed Romney for his changing positions on social issues including abortion and gay rights, shifts that have left conservatives questioning his sincerity. He also has struggled to curb some skepticism about his Mormon faith, which many evangelical Christians view as a sect.

Romney has pointed to his 42-year marriage to demonstrate his consistency. He has also played up his 25-year career in the private sector. Romney worked for Boston Consulting Group, helping companies fatten their bottom lines. Then he moved to rival Bain & Co., where he led a new spinoff, Bain Capital, which combined management consulting with investments in promising companies. He helped start or reinvigorate hundreds of companies, including Staples and Domino's Pizza, on his way to amassing a personal fortune.

"Understanding how the economy works by having worked in the real economy is finally essential in the White House. And I hope people recognize that," Romney said.

Romney's biggest weakness among primary voters is that he championed a health care law while governor of Massachusetts that's similar to President Barack Obama's national health care overhaul, which conservatives despise. The plan that critics call "Romneycare" required the state's citizens to purchase health insurance. The "individual mandate" component of Obama's health care overhaul, which particularly draws Republican criticism, is in large part based on the Massachusetts practice.

Romney has defended his plan, saying the mandate encouraged individuals to take personal responsibility for their health care. Nonetheless, he has promised to sign an executive order that would spare states from complying with Obama's health care law.

Romney cemented his reputation as a problem-solver when he stepped in to clean up the 2002 Winter Olympics in Utah, which were fraught with accusations of bribery and resignations from the organizing committee. He cut costs, boosted revenues and oversaw a successful event as the nation continued to recover from the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

The combination of fiscally conservative and socially moderate policies that proved a winning formula for Romney when he ran for governor did not work in the 2008 presidential primaries, which were dominated by conservative voters. Romney lost the GOP presidential nomination to John McCain. He spent $110 million, more than $40 million of his own money, in that race.

The former Massachusetts governor kept a low public profile after his loss and began laying the groundwork for his second presidential bid. Capitalizing on his business background, Romney has campaigned to strengthen free enterprise, create jobs and downsize the federal government.

American Conservative Union Rating: Not rated

Americans for Democratic Action Rating: Not rated

Source: Associated Press

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Latest Headlines

4:04 PM EDT
WEDNESDAY,
OCT 29
Article

Romney backs up Perdue on jobs in Ga. Senate race

Republican David Perdue has spent the better part of a month defending his business record in Georgia's tight U.S. Senate race, as Democrat Michelle Nunn blasts him as an out-of-touch businessman who shipped jobs overseas.

8:08 AM EDT
WEDNESDAY,
OCT 29
Blog

Ted Cruz and Mitt Romney jet to Alaska to rally with Dan Sullivan

The tacit head of the party's establishment and a tea party firebrand are both jetting to the Last Frontier to boost Sullivan in the home stretch.

8:08 AM EDT
WEDNESDAY,
OCT 29
Blog

Mitt Romney hits the air for Tillis in closing argument ad

The 2012 nominee aims to be a closer in a state he narrowly won.

11:11 AM EDT
TUESDAY,
OCT 14
Article

Can't quit Mitt: Friends say Romney feels nudge to consider a 2016 presidential run

The vacuum of power within the Republican Party could entice him to run for president a third time.

5:05 PM EDT
MONDAY,
OCT 27
Article

Dole says he wants Romney to run again in 2016

Bob Dole says he thinks former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney should run for the office again in 2016.

10:10 AM EDT
WEDNESDAY,
OCT 29
11:11 PM EDT
TUESDAY,
OCT 28
Blog

Ebola has replaced gas prices, the deficit and Obamacare as election issues

Election day is a week off and some of the great controversies in the past seem to have faded.

6:06 PM EDT
MONDAY,
OCT 13
Blog

Mitt Romney isn't generating much 2016 buzz on Detroit airport jet bridges

Plus: Bonus odd-rectangle-shape mystery!

9:09 AM EDT
TUESDAY,
OCT 14
Blog

Ann Romney: 'Mitt and I are...done. Done. Done.'

She tries to short-circuit the rumbles of Romney 2016.

7:07 AM EDT
MONDAY,
OCT 20
Article

Post-ABC News Poll: Absent Mitt Romney, who can claim the 2016 GOP banner?

Romney leads the Republican field by a big margin. Without him, it's a wide-open race.

PROJECT: Wilson Andrews, Jason Bartz, Ryan Kellett, Katie Parker, Leslie Passante and Serdar Tumgoren - The Washington Post. Published Oct. 8, 2012.

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