Politics Explained: Mormons Ignore Romney as One of Them

In the last 6 months, as the election has been heating up, I’ve done a bit of travelling. I have been on the East and West Coasts of the US and up and down Eastern Europe. In my travels, I often wear BYU gear and when people see that they assume that I am a Latter-day Saint (LDS) (AKA Mormon). Their assumptions are good. But then another assumption is immediately made. “Oh, you’re Mormon…So you’re a Romney fan.” I shouldn’t be surprised by that statement because I get it a lot, but I’m always taken aback. I feel that my integrity as a politically involved member of society is in question when people make that assumption. I don’t want people to think that my political opinions are based primarily on a candidate’s religion. So I usually retort with, “Yes, I’m a Romney fan…but not because I’m a Mormon.”

Politics Explained: Mitt Romney speaks at Mormon University - BYU

Romney speaks at BYU commencement

Recently, I’ve engaged in some self-reflection. Why do I get so defensive when people accuse me of basing my political beliefs on my religious ties, and should I be? I think I get so defensive because I feel that me admitting that I like Romney because he’s LDS, would justify people not liking him for the same reason.

True as that may be, there is a fine line here. Was it wrong for African-Americans to be excited about Barack Obama becoming the very first African-American president? Was it wrong for Greek Americans to be excited about Mike Dukakis being the first Greek Orthodox nominee for president? What about Catholics and JFK? Now, can Latter-day Saints be excited about Mitt Romney as one of their own having a legitimate chance of victory? My answer is, yes.

Latter-day Saints, from both parties, should feel able to be excited about Mitt Romney as a Mormon. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has not always been even tolerated in the United States. In 1838, Governor Boggs in Missouri issued Executive Order 44 – commonly known as the Mormon Extermination Order. The Governor issued an order allowing citizens to drive Latter-day Saints from the state and kill any who resisted… Kill any who resisted…. That was not the only time Mormons were driven from their homes. Now, just under two-hundred years later, a member of that church that was forced from the country into the barren wasteland that became vibrant Salt Lake Valley is now competing for the highest office in the land. It’s a great moment for Latter-day Saints and should be celebrated.

Politics Explained: Mormons forced from America

Mormons Pioneers Forced West

Will Latter-day Saints vote for Romney knowing nothing more than the fact that he is LDS? I would hope not, just like I would hope that African-Americans would not vote for Obama just knowing that he is African-American. But can either of these groups be justified in citing their cultural ties as a reason for voting? Should society turn a blind eye to a candidate’s religious, cultural, and ethnic background? My answer to that is “no”.

My religion has made me who I am. From my religious upbringing, I have learned how I should treat other people and define my own priorities. My perspective on life’s problems would be vastly different if I was not raised LDS and served an LDS mission to Ukraine. To turn a blind eye to that would be to turn a blind eye to my character. To turn a blind eye to a candidate’s character is to turn a blind eye to how they are going to act in the Office of the Presidency.

Politics Explain: Mormons excited about Mitt Romney

Mormons Excited For Mitt

So Mormons, be excited about Mitt Romney. Don’t be ashamed of what you share a common set of religious beliefs. African-Americans, do the same. Look to the candidates’ character to understand how they will do their job, but understand that we are voting for the President of the United States, not the President of the student body. This is not a popularity contest; too much is at stake.

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Politics Explained: Romney and Obama’s Convention Speeches Compared

The national party conventions are the most prime opportunity for a candidate to make his/her case for the presidency. The national news networks are finally all tuned in and giving their undivided attention. For the first time, they have a national audience, and they, the candidates, get to set the agenda. This moment was very important for both the President and Governor Romney but for different reasons.

Politics explained: Romney vs. Obama

Different Conventions, Different Speeches, Similar Goals

President Obama needed to stand up and convince America that he deserves four more years. He needed to explain why his leadership, that we’ve all seen, will be good for another term and then go on to explain what he’d do with it.

Governor Romney on the other hand had the task of explaining why he, the man without four years of presidential experience, would be that much better than the current option. He needed to lay out his plan for America’s future and show that America is not currently on the right course.

We’ll start with looking at Romney’s speech since he gave his first, and part of Obama’s speech was in response to Romney’s.

In the most basic terms, Romney’s speech was a success. Something that I’ve been noticing about Romney recently is that he is making his case for the presidency by acting presidential. After being introduced, Romney walked in from the back of the hall. To many observers, it was very akin to the way in which the president enters the House of Representatives, from the back, just before delivering the State of the Union address. There was a lot of hand shaking, hugs to friends, and one slightly awkward moment when Romney had to ask a lady not to touch his face because he was afraid of her ruining his stage make-up (before you laugh about him wearing make up, remember it was stage make up that helped JFK win in the presidential debates against Nixon. The debates were televised for the first time, and Nixon refused to put on make up…JFK looked better).

Politics Explained: Romney at Convention

Romney delivering speech to RNC

Then once behind the podium, he spoke to his purpose. Remember, that purpose was to make his case for the presidency. He started by first making the case that people should be considering a change in leadership. He asked the country to really ask themselves, “are you better than you were 4 years ago?” He supplied evidence to the fact that they weren’t. After getting people to consider new leadership, he explained what that meant. He laid out a five point plan to economic and job recovery which included energy independence by 2020 and stronger trade relations abroad. He ended by expressing his love for America, and all that politician fluff.

Exactly one week later, Obama spoke to his party. His entrance was a lot different, instead of coming from the back of a well lit room, he came from back stage of a dark room under a spotlight to the tune of a Coldplay song. The Obama people are really good at theatrical drama and evoking the most emotional response from their audience. This is no exception.

Politics Explained: Obama at convention applauding supporters

Obama applauds supporters

The speech itself, again, should have been aimed at laying out his plan for his next term as a way of convincing people that he deserves more time. He started with an acknowledgement of the historic nature of this election. He then went on to attack the speeches given by the republicans, throwing in the word God at every opportunity, just in case people still remembered how the DNC almost removed all instances of God from their party platform. He then laid out a long list of democratic party principles. He said that they could add thousands of jobs in multiple areas, and the only thing that he needs in order to do that is our help.

So what do we learn from this? Well, we just get confirmation of what we already know. This is a fundamental difference, in my opinion, between the Romney campaign and Obama campaign. Romney speaks to the country as a whole and offers a plan to help the whole; Obama seeks to divide and conquer.

Romney Speaks to the NAACP

Romney Speaks to the NAACP

Another great example of Romney doing well what he did at the convention was during his speech to the NAACP. There is an organization which is made up almost entirely of Obama supporters, but Romney went to them anyway. He realized that if he is going to be President of the United States then he will be president of all Americans, not just Republicans. He went into that meeting with the NAACP, and gave a very similar speech to those he gives all over the country. He was even booed at one point for saying some unpopular things. But the thing is, Romney will not pander. He will not change his message because of the color of people’s skin or their social standing. He is to be a president of all Americans.

Politics explained: Obama campaigns with strategy of divide and conquer

Obama seeks to divide and conquer

But Obama knows that in a system of winner take all, he doesn’t need all of America to agree with him, heck he doesn’t even need half of America to agree with him. He just needs more people to agree with him than with Romney. And so how does he do it?  Obama’s strategy has been to divide the people then gather up enough groups to secure his victory and save the needy and oppressed, as he feels that he is doing. This is seen in his divisive rhetoric against the business class of the country. He rallies the poor and middle class around the idea that the rich Americans don’t really care about the country or people who are under them. He attacks the successful for the purpose of gaining the support of those who want a share of their profits.

That’s what he did at the convention. If you listen, you’ll hear that he was speaking directly to his base. He was preaching to the choir to get them to sing louder. This wasn’t a speech for the undecided voter, like Romney’s was. If it was, he would have given more concrete ideas, and not abstract hopes and dreams for the future.

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Politics Explained: Mitt Romney Releasing his Tax Returns

Whether or not Mitt Romney will release his tax returns has become a big question in the media, especially as allegations are being thrown around like a baseball concerning those very taxes. So what’s the big deal? Why does Obama care so much about Romney releasing even more tax returns (because he’s already released two years worth), what do we expect to find in these tax returns, and why doesn’t Romney just release them? Well, as with everything having to do with this campaign, it’s all political.

Politics Explained: Obama demanding Mitt Romney's Tax returns

Politics Explained: Obama demands Romney’s tax returns

First off, where did this all come from? Why does Obama even care? Well, it has become some sort of a tradition for presidential candidates to release as much as 10 years worth of tax returns, detailing how much money they made, how much they paid in taxes, and what kind of investments were made and exemptions received. Why this became tradition, I don’t really know. It really does nothing except expose potential tax fraud and show you just how rich these candidates are. But either way, it has become tradition and Obama is using it to his advantage.

Well, one of Obama’s campaign strategies is to portray Romney as a rich, insensitive, disconnected, heartless capitalist who cares more about his money than the American people. Every bit of information Obama can get about Romney’s taxes will just serve as more ammunition. But why is that? What is in those tax returns that is so valuable to Obama.

Politics Explained: Romney's Taxes are lower due to capital gains tax rates

Politics Explained: Romney’s investment career

Well, here’s what we’ll find in those tax returns. First you’ll find that Governor Romney only pays about 14% of his income in taxes. This, according to Obama, is evidence of the unfair tax code. But what he won’t tell you is why. He pays 14% because, since he is retired, he’s making his money from returns on investments. This is called “capital gains” and as of right now, the capital gains tax rate is effectively 15%. “But you said he probably paid more like 14%.” Well, that’s because he took advantage of deductions. Obama will use that to try and show that Romney is greedy and out of touch. But let me ask you a question. Would you ever not take a tax deduction that you could legally obtain? Do you know anyone who would ever pay more in taxes out of the goodness of their heart? No. People don’t do that, but Obama would have you believe that Romney is not patriotic because of that fact. Another reason you will find that he pays less in taxes is because he gives a large portion of his income to charity. We would not be surprised to find that 10% of his income went to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. And obviously that proves that he is a member of a cult that is making secret plans to take over the government (sarcasm intended).

The last thing you’ll find is that Romney invested in foreign companies and businesses. The Obama campaign will show that his tax returns are proof that Romney doesn’t believe in America. But, really, Romney is doing what anyone else would do. Try to be as prosperous as possible. Because do you know what he did with the money he made from investing abroad? He spent it in America. He gave to charities. He purchased a home, a car (or two or three), gave people jobs, bought specialty items from small businesses. He contributed to the economy more than he could have if he had not invested abroad.

So that’s why Obama wants Romney to come out with these tax returns, because he has a plan of attack for each and every point. And to make things better for him, in the mean time, Obama can paint Romney as having something to hide for not releasing his tax returns. This is why Obama won’t let it go, because either way you slice it, Romney loses.

But so, why doesn’t Romney just own up to his tax returns and release them? Why can’t he just get it over with. I mean the Obama campaign manager even sent Romney a deal that if he released just 5 years worth, he promised out of the goodness of his heart to not attack Romney on them. Now what are the chances that deal would be kept? Sure, the Obama campaign may not attack him, but they don’t need to, they have the media to do all of their dirty work for them.

So what? Either way, Romney is being attacked, why not just release them and be transparent? Because, he is choosing the lesser of two evils. By not releasing, not only does he avoid the calculated attacks that I’ve already mentioned, but he avoids looking weak by giving in to the demands of the Obama campaign. Yes, he lacks complete transparency, but he has decided, and I agree with this decision, that it is better for people to make themselves look ridiculous making unfounded accusations than have him distract from the message on the economy to defend his taxes.

Obama wants nothing more than to distract from the current economic struggles, and Romney won’t let him.

Politics Explained: Romney and Obama come to a head.

Politics Explained: The beginning of a tense race

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Politics Explained: Biden says Romney’s “going to put y’all back in chains”

This kind of rhetoric shouldn’t surprise me, but I am still taken aback by the divisiveness of this administration. Obama and Biden alike have taken to the streets to split America in two by engaging in class warfare.

The two of them, are going across America to rile up the poor against the rich. They are inciting anger and envy that will only subside once they get their way and have taxed the rich into oblivion and decreased everyone’s standard of living. To them, if everyone can’t be successful, no one should be, because that’s what’s “fair.” It was once said, if you want more success, you have to stop attacking success, and that is why Obama must be stopped.

Now about the politics of this all. I’m not sure if Biden was making a reference to the Civil War and slavery with his, “going to put y’all back in chains” comment. I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt on this one and just say his rhetoric was just a little extreme. Even so, even without an intentional reference to slavery and the Civil War, just listen to how that comment was received.

And another thing. From the way Biden was speaking, can you guess where he’s from? You guessed it…Pennsylvania. Wait, I didn’t know Pennsylvanians had a Southern drawl? I guess you learn something new every day. And did you hear how he let his grammar go? This man is pandering. He is playing up the crowd, and he’s going to change his message, his accent, and his vocabulary at the next campaign stop. Because that’s what Biden and Obama do. They do whatever is necessary to be elected; that is priority number one.

But doesn’t Romney do the same thing? Sure he’ll adjust his message from campaign stop to campaign stop based on what is important to that people, but I challenge you to find an instance of him changing so dramatically that he sounds like a different candidate. When Romney spoke to the civil rights organization, the NAACP, he didn’t pander to African Americans; he didn’t just tell them what they wanted to hear. He delivered the same message of economic recovery that he has been spreading across the United States.

That’s the difference between Romney/Ryan and Obama/Biden. Romney/Ryan are concerned with one thing, getting the country back on track. They are concerned, not with dividing the country, but unifying it and raising up everyone together. Obama/Biden just don’t want to leave their posh seats in the capital. Because if they were really concerned about putting the American public in chains, they would be taking a serious look at how they are creating a dependency on the government.

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Politics Explained: What picking Paul Ryan as VP says about Mitt Romney

I woke up very excited as I got a notification from my “Romney VP” smartphone app, telling me that Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan was selected as Mitt Romney’s running mate. The thing is, this pick explains much and speaks volumes to the character and future presidency of Mitt Romney, and they’re only good things.

Politics Explained: The Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan VP Pick

Politics Explained: What picking Paul Ryan says about Mitt Romney

Before we can understand too much about what this says about Mitt, we need some background on the pick himself, namely Paul Ryan.

Paul Ryan is an ideological leader of congressional republicans. As a member of the budget committee, he has presented bold and innovative ideas for balancing the budget and reigning in out-of-control government spending – ideas that I will be discussing in future posts. The most important thing to note, is that Paul Ryan is no passive voice in the government. Obama knows who this guy is and knows that he’s a threat.

So what does this say about Romney. It says for one that he’s serious. If you have ever heard someone say, “Romney just does things to get elected,” this should support the opposite. If Romney was worried solely about being elected, he  would have picked Condi Rice, an African-American woman. Or he would have picked Marco Rubio, a Latino from Florida. Or he would have picked someone with a more bland political record, someone who won’t draw much fire from the liberal media like Ryan already is. But no, he picks Ryan. And why? Because being elected for Romney is merely a means to an end. For Romney, the end result is putting America back on track. The goal is to make America unquestionably prosperous again.

Some critics are saying that this pick is political suicide and that it draws attention away from Obama’s first term. Nothing could be more wrong, and in fact, the reality is quite the opposite. This pick by Romney shines a bright spotlight on the failed policies of the last 4 years and will bring the economic issues that face our country to the forefront of public debate instead of having them swept aside by distractions from the Obama people.

This is also a testimonial to the fact that Romney has the great ability to surround himself with the best people. At Bain Capital, Romney built his company by surrounding himself with the best and brightest in the field, and it worked. He has shown how he can do that in his political career as well. He made his decision, not based on demographics or polls, but on merit. He found the brightest, most articulate and talented person who understands almost better than anyone else, just where this country is headed economically, and he put him on the team. Imagine what this will mean for the future White House Staff and Presidential cabinet? This means that he won’t look at these decisions with a political lens  trying to decide which appointment will make him most popular. He will judge people according to the content of their character and their merits instead of any other test.

Selecting Paul Ryan as VP was Romney’s first major presidential decision, and he passed with flying colors. We can expect more of this great leadership and decision making from Governor Romney if we elect him as President come November.

Politics Explained: America's comeback dream team

Politics Explained: Paul Ryan truly makes this a winning ticket for America

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Politics Explained: Romney & Bain Capital

Video

If you haven’t heard, quite recently, the Obama campaign released an attack on Mitt Romney which was then spread throughout the main stream media ( i.e. CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, etc.). The implication was that Romney lied about when he left his company Bain Capital. Romney has held to the claim that he left in 1999 to go run the Olympic Games in Salt Lake City, but the Obama campaign presented what they saw as evidence to the fact that he was there 3 years longer.

There is a video posted at the very end of this post which is a report from CNN (which normally is seen to have a democrat bias) that debunks those lies which were spread by the Obama campaign. If you already know the back story, go ahead and skip to the end to just watch the video. If you still aren’t sure what this is all about, keep reading.

So what? Why should we care? Well, the Obama camp (“camp” being jargon for campaign) wants to use Romney’s time at Bain Capital to paint the picture of a greedy business man more interested in money in his pocket than creating jobs for American workers. Before I go much further let me explain briefly what exactly goes on at Bain Capital.

Bain Capital is a company that specializes in taking over failing companies and making them profitable. Kind of like flipping a house. You find a house that is run down, you buy it at a low price, you put time, effort, and money into it, then sell it hoping to make a profit. Bain Capital does just that, but instead of flipping houses, they’re flipping businesses.

If you’ve ever watched any of those house flipping reality TV shows, you will know that flipping a house is not always successful. Sometimes it happens that the house simply has far more problems than could be seen on the outside. Other times it happens that those doing the flipping really have no idea what to do and make a series of dumb decisions which leave them with leave them losing money. The Obama camp would like you to believe that Romney is like that bickering couple on TV that decides to knock down a wall that turns out to be a supporting wall, and in doing so, the entire second floor comes crashing down. It’s one thing when that happens to a house, but it’s another when the damage results in hundreds of workers losing jobs.

So back to this allegation about Romney being at Bain longer than he has claimed. If that is true, then the Obama camp will be able to point to Bain Capital failures and blame Romney. They are already trying to portray him as the dumb house flipper who haphazardly knocks down walls, not caring about the consequences. This would simply give more ammunition.

Romney, on the other hand, would like you to look at his record with the point of view that, “You know what? Business ventures aren’t always successful.” It is true that not every single investment made by the Bain Capital, under the direction of Mitt Romney, has turned out to be successful. He claims that it’s not because he was incompetent but that, just like some houses have more problems than can be noticed until you rip up the floor boards, there are unseen factors that have made it impossible to turn a company around to make it profitable. You have to understand, it’s not like Romney took successful businesses and drove them into the ground. These companies were on the verge of destruction and he with the resources of his company would come in and try to save it. It didn’t always work, but most of the time it did.

So that’s the essence of the debate. Obama wants you to believe that Romney is a greedy, heartless, Mr. Moneybags type capitalist, who will run a company into the ground just to make a buck. Romney would like you to believe that in the instances where the companies did fail, it wasn’t due to a lack of trying and in fact he worked until the bitter end to save the companies and the jobs of those employed.

Before I conclude, just one more thing about this Bain Capital business. The debated date of departure from Bain Capital revolves around Mitts decision to leave the company to go run the Olympic Games in Salt Lake City which were on the verge of bankruptsy after a huge scandal. When Mitt went to Salt Lake, he did it, not for profit, but out of a sense of duty. You hear them mention that on this CNN video. Romney was putting behind a very successful part of his carrear so that he could turn the Olympics into a successful even not only for Salt Lake City, but for America and the World. Not only did he go, but he succeeded. This man is a patriot and he’s good at what he does.

Romney with Olympic torch

Now who can think of a more run down corporation than the government of the United States of America. Who better to turn this around then a man who made a career out of taking ineffective businesses and making them profitable. Remember, profitable means more jobs. The more money that comes in, the more jobs that can be created so that even more money can be made.

Obama may attack Romney’s time at Bain Capital and refer to it as Romney’s greatest weakness, but I along with many other Americans see it as one of his greatest assets.

To end, I want to point out that this lie spread by the Obama camp is another effort to try and show the voters that Romney is a shady character that does not want to tell you the whole truth. Unfortunately every example I use to try and prove he is an honest man can be twisted by the other side to show that he is corrupt, so I’ll leave you with this thought. In his recent address to the NAACP, Romney stated, “I believe that if you truly understood who I am in my heart, and if it were possible to fully communicate what I believe is in the real, enduring best interest of… American families, you would vote for me for President.” I also believe that to be true.

Now for the video where CNN points out the lies coming from the Obama Campaing.

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Politics Explained: The Obamacare Ruling

With the Supreme Court ruling almost entirely in favor of the Affordable Care Act (commonly known as Obamacare), there has been a lot of talk on both sides of the aisle on what exactly that means. To prime the discussion, I would like you to watch a clip from Candidate Barack Obama four years ago.

If you decided not to watch it, basically it is Candidate Obama promising not to raise taxes at all on the middle class. After he was President Obama, he was interviewed about Obamacare and questioned about whether or not it was in fact a tax increase on the middle class. This clip is a little bit longer, but worth it if you have time to watch it. When confronted on whether or not this is a tax he said, “absolutely not.” There are penalties he says, but it is all fair. What the President didn’t want to admit was, no matter how justifiable you think it is, it is still a tax.

Today, the Supreme Court confirmed that. I will not go too much in depth in analyzing the Court’s decision except for those parts relevant to the Campaign season in front of us. For more details about the ruling itself, here is a nice breakdown.

The Solicitor General (the Government’s lawyer) tried to make the argument that Congress has the right to force people to buy health insurance because of the Congressional duty to regulate interstate commerce. Today the Supreme Court in essence said, “Well, no, this doesn’t really count as interstate commerce, but this is a tax, and Congress can tax…so fine…keep your mandate, but you have to call it a tax.” Now doesn’t that make Obama feel a little silly?

What does that mean politically? Well the GOP now has just the ammo they need to call Obama a “tax-and-spend” president, and the Democrats have what they feel is validation from the Court. Even in Obama’s brief remarks following the decision, he said something to the effect of, “Now let me be clear, we see today that the Court stands with us in saying this is something the country needs.” No Mr. President, that comment could not be any farther from the truth.

Chief Justice Roberts, writing the Majority Opinion said, “We do not consider whether the Act embodies sound policies. That judgment is entrusted to the Nation’s elected leaders. We ask only whether Congress has the power under the Constitution to enact the challenged provisions.” That is key to remember when thinking about this. The Court did not put it’s stamp of approval on the legislation. I think that Mitt Romney sums it up best when he said today: “What the Court did not do on its last day in session I will do on my first day if elected President of the United States. And that is I will act to repeal Obamacare….Obamacare was bad policy yesterday. It’s bad policy today. Obamacare was bad law yesterday. It’s bad law today.” Constitutional or not, it’s “bad policy”

I predict that this outcome gives Romney more of a boost than if the Court simply threw out the bill as unconstitutional. First off, the democrats can not turn Obamacare into a martyr appreciated more after it’s demise. Even more, I say this because more scrutiny will be brought back to the harmful bill and it will finally be revealed for what it really is, a tax on the middle class.

In Obama’s address today, he talked about what Obamacare means for America. It means that Health Insurance companies are put under Congress’s control. The policies that have made health insurance a profitable business are being outlawed and thrown out. This means that they are going to lose money and normally that would lead to an increase in premiums for policy holders. But no, we can’t have that. We can’t have big bad businesses raising costs on people, so instead we’ll put the Health Insurance companies on life support and then prop them up with government spending. Oh good, so the government will pay for it. I’m sure glad that I don’t have to pay…Oh wait…where does the government get it’s money from? Oh yeah…me.

I can’t seem to find a link for Obama’s remarks, but I really wish you could hear them and hear just what Obama plans on doing to our country.

But like I said, this is not going to end well for Obama and he knows it. At the end of his address, he tried to say we have bigger problems like the economy. Though I agree with the President, when Obama tries to distract from something towards the economy, you know he’s in bad shape. And not only does Obama see it, but we all do. Evidence of this can be seen in the surge of donations to the Romney campaign since the verdict was delivered. In the four hours since the verdict was delivered, the Romney campaign has raised over $1.5 million from over 13,500 donors; all of that in the name of repealing Obamacare. By the end of the day, the Romney camp over doubled that number to $3.2 million

I joined the ranks of those 13,500+ with my small donation, and if you want to send the President a message by supporting Mitt, click this convenient link.

So, though Republicans lost the battle today on getting rid of this harmful policy, it will put them on track to winning the war and getting rid of it in its entirety.