Where The Candidates Stand: One Last Primer Before You Hit The Polls

It’s one day until Election Day, and everyone is holding their breath until they turn red or blue to see who will be the next leader of these great United States. Throw on your flag pin and open your big red umbrella if you have to — it's time to get out and VOTE! Before you do, make sure you're informed. Thankfully, theSkimm's got your back. Check out their issue breakdown below and read the full theSkimm's Guide to the Election at
I’ll vote... I'm just a little overwhelmed: We feel ya. Romney and Obama are not just different candidates from different parties but they offer starkly different visions on certain issues. So, what am I voting on? Let’s Skimm this E.
Taxes…as in how much should we all pay?
What Obama says: Tax cuts and breaks from Bush ’43 are about to expire, and we need to renew them for families making under $250K. Those making the big bucks need to pay more. No cuts for you. My friend, Mitt, just doesn’t care about 47% of Americans.
What Romney says: Barry just doesn’t get it. We should keep the Bush tax cuts/breaks for everyone. And give some more cuts, with the biggest breaks for the wealthy. This will actually help the middle class. Do the math. (Just don’t ask me how I do mine yet.)

Health care…as in health-care reform happened, and Republicans wish it hadn’t.
What Obama says: Ever heard of that little thing called Obamacare? I DID IT! And, every Republican hates it. We seek to reduce the number of uninsured, expand Medicaid, protect coverage for patients with pre-existing conditions, and ban insurers from cancelling policies when patients get sick. Oh, and you must have insurance or face a penalty tax, sorry. Don’t like it? Well, Mittnificent doesn’t care as much as I do.

What Romney says: Peace out Obrokeacare. Did I apply an eerily similar plan when I was governor of Massachusetts? I sure did. But, that was one state, not the whole country. Yes, there are some good things within the reform, but a mandate? No. Purchasing insurance should be a tax break, not a penalty. Uninsured? Go to the ER.


Medicare/Social Security…as in who loves Grandma more, and will I one day be able to retire in Boca or Scottsdale? Psst, what’s Medicare again? A program that insures 49 million seniors and people with disabilities. It is running out of money. And social security is a safety net that provides retirement benefits to over 55 million Americans. It’s funded by a payroll tax on employees and employers. It’s running out of money, too.
What Obama says: Don’t worry, Obamacare will help reign in Medicare spending. Paul Ryan’s vision of Medicare will put more cost on Granny. As for social security, Republicans are going to make it very hard for us to retire. As for my plan? Uh, I’m working on it.

What Romney says: Obummer just took $716 billion away from Grandma to pay for his namesake plan! Medicare isn’t a piggy bank. My new BFF, Paul Ryan, had a great idea that he brought to the House: Let’s make Medicare into a program that gives seniors a fixed payment to buy whatever coverage they want. It’s a voucher. And social security will stay as is for soon-to-be retirees, but I’ll make changes for the younger folks, like raising the retirement age (HA! I’ll be dead then).

Immigration…as in there are over 11 million undocumented immigrants living and working in the U.S. What do we do?
What Obama says: Si se puede? I promised you a major immigration overhaul last time we did this, and I didn’t deliver. Ay! But I did sign an executive order that lets immigrants who entered the country illegally as children, stay and work for at least two years without the fear of deportation. DREAM Act, here we come!
What Romney says: Sigh. If only I were Latino, this would be easier. I support a self-deportation strategy, which says make your own choice on how you want to say hasta la vista.

Jobs & the Economy…as in we have no money. Help.

What Obama says: Sh*t. There’s a recession, okay? Your last president gave me a really bad economy, but at least I didn’t let the auto industry die. We’ve actually been adding jobs. We need to continue to stimulate the economy.

What Romney says: Oh, boy this prez has NO idea what he’s doing. Balancing budgets is what I do, folks. Time to make some necessary, but painful, cuts. We need to slacken some corporate regulation and make more trade deals.


Women…as in who loooves ‘em more and has their health and best interest at heart?
What Obama says: You should make your own choices about your own body. Seriously, I can’t win a fight with Michelle. Obamacare, as in I do care, requires most insurance companies to provide birth control with no copay. I love Planned Parenthood. What was the first thing I did in office? Oh yeah, signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.

What Romney says: I love women; I just don’t believe in abortion. Well, sometimes, I do. But, now, I definitely don’t, unless it’s in cases of rape or incest, or the mom’s life is at risk. Some people in my party really don’t like abortion ever and are a little confused about how a woman gets pregnant. I’m not paying for your own contraceptives. And funding Planned Parenthood? No, no, no. I do hire women though; check out my binder.

War…as in what is it good for? And when are we done?
What Obama says: After ordering a surge of troops into Afghanistan in 2009, I pulled them all out and, all other troops will be gone by 2014 (except a few residual forces). And, I like my unmanned drones on the Pakistan border, and in general. As for Iraq, I got all the troops out. P.S. I killed Osama!

What Romney says: I kind of feel the same as Barry on Afghanistan, except that I would evaluate conditions on the ground and not make the 2014 withdrawal public knowledge. I would have negotiated a way for some troops in Iraq to stay to train Iraqi forces. P.S. Osama gone doesn’t mean the war on terror is over.


Israel/Iran…as in who is a better BFF to Israel and who can deal with Iran best?

What Obama says: Shalom. I heart Israel and would never allow a nuclear-armed Iran to exist. My sanctions are crippling Iran’s economy. (Muhahaha. I also really wish Israel would stop building housing settlements in disputed areas and would talk to Palestine to get some peace going.

What Romney says: I love Israel way more. Obam-ugh hasn’t even visited the country during his presidency! I sort of, maybe, vaguely think it’s okay for Israel to preemptively protect itself against Iran but getting the U.S. involved is definitely a last resort. But, yeah, in general, Obama and I probably feel the same way here. Also, whatever Israel’s Netanyahu says regarding Palestinians and Israel’s right to land works for me.

Foreign policy…as in how to interact with the rest of the world.

What Obama says: Romney has no experience in this area. Just like in domestic policy, he wants to take us back to the '80s.

What Romney says: Obama leads from behind, which isn’t really leading. What happened in Libya, huh? Nice job there. We’re poor, and it’s hurting our influence over the world. in where can Sally get her gun and shoot it?

What Obama says: Guns for hunting? Okay with me. But we don’t need AK-47s on the streets. Let’s think about reintroducing the assault weapons ban.

What Romney says: Guns are guaranteed under the Constitution, remember? We need to do a better job of enforcing the gun laws we already have and change the culture of violence through schools and parents (two of them: a mom and a dad).


Same-sex marriage…as in Jeff wants to marry Jake and share benefits.
What Obama says: Although it took me a little while to come around to it, go ahead. Equal marriage rights for all! You go, Gaga! But I won’t push the federal government to make individual states recognize this. I did oversee the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, too, you know.

What Romney says: Yeahhh, I’m not for that, and I want a constitutional amendment that says marriage is between one man and one woman.

Education…as in where do kids go to school and how to pay for it?
What Obama says: College is really important and I want the U.S. to have the highest proportion of college grads by 2020. To do that, I started “Race to the Top,” an initiative where schools compete for federal grants and inspire innovation.
What Romney says: Comparison shopping is always good. Parents and students should do that with federal-funded vouchers. And the government needs to get out of the student loan game and let private business in so there can be more competition.

Energy & The Environment…as in where does power come from, and hey, what caused you, Sandy?

What Obama says: We can’t drill our way out of oil dependence. Let’s increase solar and wind energy, and take away tax breaks from Big Oil. Oh, and global warming is real.

What Romney says: I like those oil tax breaks. Let’s drill and get some U.S.-energy. Keystone Pipeline, go right ahead. Jobs people! About Sandy, yeahhh, we’re not sure what’s causing climate change. I’ve said in the past that states should take charge of their emergency management, which is kind of awkward after Sandy.

What they hope you won't notice: Apparently, Biden is running with a Clinton. And Romney’s 16-year-old granddaughter Allie dresses to the nines…plus a couple of zeroes.

Photo by: Scout Tufankjian for Obama for America

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