By CALVIN WOODWARD, Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) — A look at where Democratic President Barack Obama and Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney stand on a selection of issues:
ABORTION and BIRTH CONTROL:
Obama: Supports abortion rights. Health care law requires contraceptives to be available for free for women enrolled in workplace health plans, including access to morning-after pill, which does not terminate a pregnancy but is considered tantamount to an abortion pill by some religious conservatives. Supported requiring girls 16 and under to get a prescription for the morning-after pill, available without a prescription for older women.
Romney: Opposes abortion rights. Previously supported them. Says state law should guide abortion rights, and Roe v. Wade should be reversed by a future Supreme Court. But says Roe vs. Wade is law of the land until that happens, and should not be challenged by federal legislation seeking to overturn abortion rights affirmed by that court decision. "So I would live within the law, within the Constitution as I understand it, without creating a constitutional crisis. But I do believe Roe v. Wade should be reversed to allow states to make that decision." Said he would end federal aid to Planned Parenthood.
Obama: A fourth-straight year of trillion-dollar deficits is projected. Federal spending is estimated at 23.5 percent of gross domestic product this year, up from about 20 percent in previous administration, and is forecast to decline to 21.8 percent by 2016. Won approval to raise debt limit to avoid default. Calls for tackling the debt with a mix of spending cuts and revenue increases. Central to Obama's plan is to let Bush-era tax cuts expire for couples making more than $250,000. That would generate more than $700 billion over 10 years. Also, would set a 30 percent tax rate on taxpayers making more than $1 million, increasing taxes for some but not all millionaires and billionaires. That would generate about $47 billion over 10 years. Reached agreement with congressional Republicans to cut $487 billion in military spending over a decade.
Romney: Defended 2008 bailout of financial institutions as a necessary step to avoid the system's collapse, opposed the bailout of General Motors and Chrysler and said any such aid should not single out specific companies. Would cap federal spending at 20 percent of gross domestic product by end of first term. Stayed silent on the debt-ceiling deal during its negotiation, only announcing his opposition to the final agreement shortly before lawmakers voted on it. Instead, endorsed GOP "cut, cap and balance" bill that had no chance of enactment. Favors constitutional balanced budget amendment. Proposes broad but largely unspecified cuts in federal spending. Among the few details: 10 percent cut in federal workforce, elimination of $1.6 billion in Amtrak subsidies and cuts of $600 million in support for the arts and broadcasting.
Obama: Term marked by high unemployment, a deep recession that began in previous administration and officially ended within six months, and gradual recovery with persistently high jobless rates. Unemployment rate jumped to 8.3 percent from 7.8 percent in February 2009, Obama's first full month in office, and has remained above 8 percent ever since. The 38-month stretch of unemployment above 8 percent is the longest on records dating to 1948. But employers have added 3.6 million jobs since job creation turned steadily positive in March 2010. Businesses have added jobs for 25 straight months, pushing down the unemployment rate from 9.8 percent in March 2010 to 8.2 percent two years later. Responded to recession with a roughly $800 billion stimulus plan that nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated cut the unemployment rate by 0.7 to 1.8 percentage points. Continued implementation of Wall Street and auto industry bailouts begun under George W. Bush. Proposes tax breaks for U.S. manufacturers producing domestically or repatriating jobs from abroad, and tax penalties for U.S. companies outsourcing jobs. Won approval of South Korea, Panama and Colombia free-trade pacts begun under previous administration, completing the biggest round of trade liberalization since the North American Free Trade Agreement and other pacts of that era.