2012 Presidential Election
Democrat Nominee: Barack Obama vs. Republican Nominee: Mitt Romney

2012 Presidential Debate Schedule

The dates and venues have been announced for the 2012 Presidential debates between President Obama and Mitt Romney.
October 3, 2012
President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney
President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney

Topic: Domestic policy
Air Time: 9:00-10:30 p.m. Eastern Time
Location: University of Denver in Denver, Colorado (Tickets)
Sponsor: Commission on Presidential Debates
Participants: President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney
Moderator: Jim Lehrer (Host of NewsHour on PBS)
The debate will focus on domestic policy and be divided into six time segments of approximately 15 minutes each on topics to be selected by the moderator and announced several weeks before the debate.

The moderator will open each segment with a question, after which each candidate will have two minutes to respond. The moderator will use the balance of the time in the segment for a discussion of the topic.
October 11, 2012
Vice Presidential
Vice President Joe Biden and Paul Ryan
Vice President Joe Biden and Paul Ryan

Topic: Foreign and domestic policy
Air Time: 9:00-10:30 p.m. Eastern Time
Location: Centre College in Danville, Kentucky (Tickets)
Sponsor: Commission on Presidential Debates
Participants: Vice President Joe Biden and Congressman Paul Ryan
Moderator: Martha Raddatz (ABC News Chief Foreign Correspondent)
The debate will cover both foreign and domestic topics and be divided into nine time segments of approximately 10 minutes each. The moderator will ask an opening question, after which each candidate will have two minutes to respond. The moderator will use the balance of the time in the segment for a discussion of the question.
October 16, 2012
President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney
President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney

Topic: Town meeting format including foreign and domestic policy
Air Time: 9:00-10:30 p.m. Eastern Time
Location: Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York (Tickets)
Sponsor: Commission on Presidential Debates
Participants: President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney
Moderator: Candy Crowley (CNN Chief Political Correspondent)
The second presidential debate will take the form of a town meeting, in which citizens will ask questions of the candidates on foreign and domestic issues. Candidates each will have two minutes to respond, and an additional minute for the moderator to facilitate a discussion. The town meeting participants will be undecided voters selected by the Gallup Organization.
October 22, 2012
President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney
President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney

Topic: Foreign policy
Air Time: 9:00-10:30 p.m. Eastern Time
Location: Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida (Tickets)
Sponsor: Commission on Presidential Debates
Participants: President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney
Moderator: Bob Schieffer (Host of Face the Nation on CBS)
The format for the debate will be identical to the first presidential debate and will focus on foreign policy.

Lets take a closer look at our Candidates...
Meet Barack Obama:
DNC speech http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/video/president-obama-dnc-speech-complete-democratic-national-convention-17178902
Meet Mitt Romney:

Where do the candidates stand on important issues?


More on Romney:

Mitt Romney

Candidate for the 2012 Republican Presidential Nomination

by Liz Olson and Jennie Wood

Mitt Romney
Mitt Romney

Mitt Romney may have lacked the political experience of his rivals when he ran for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008, but four years later he has emerged as the seasoned front runner, comfortable in front of a crowd, and unafraid to discuss controversial issues, such as the similarity between his successful Massachusetts health care plan and Obama's national one. His success in business and managing the 2002 Olympic Games has demonstrated an innate leadership ability and attracts voters worried about the country's troubled economy.
Romney’s presidential campaign agenda is based on conservative principles, including small government, lower taxes, national security, defending the traditional family, and calling out Obama for being ineffective, especially when it comes to the economy.
Born into a politically active family in Detroit, Michigan, with roots in the Mormon Church, it was only natural that Romney would pursue a political career. His father, George W. Romney, was the governor of Michigan from 1963-69, and a 1968 presidential candidate. His mother, Lenore Romney, was a U.S. Senate candidate in 1970.

Business Career

Romney graduated with a B.A. from Brigham Young University, and then earned an M.B.A. and a J.D. from Harvard Business and Law schools. After graduating from Harvard, Romney began his business career with the Boston Consulting Group in 1974, and went on to become vice president of another Boston-based consulting firm, Bain & Company, Inc. In 1984, he co-founded Bain Capital, a private equity investment firm. He headed the company for 14 years, investing in or buying well-known companies such as Staples, Brookstone, Domino’s, and Sports Authority. He and his wife have accrued a net worth of between $190 and $250 million.
With a short political résumé, Romney draws on his business experience and his role on the 2002 Olympic Games committee as proof of his ability to run the nation. Romney was brought in as the president and CEO of the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympic Games in 1999 to rescue the games from fiscal crisis. He overhauled the committee’s leadership and policies, reduced budgets, and increased fundraising. He also coordinated a $300 million security budget to ensure safety at the Games in the wake of the September 11, 2001, attacks.

Massachusetts Politics

Romney’s political career has been brief; he served as the governor of Massachusetts for only one term. In 1994 he lost to Democrat Ted Kennedy in the race for the U.S. Senate. Kennedy, however, won by the slimmest margin in his nine terms in the Senate.
Despite a complaint filed by the Democratic Party about residency issues, Romney ran for governor of Massachusetts in 2002. He used $6.3 million of his own money during the campaign, and defeated Democrat Shannon O’Brien in the general election.
As governor, Romney created a scholarship program that rewards the top 25% of Massachusetts high school students with a tuition-free education to any Massachusetts public college or university. He also proposed and signed legislation that requires all Massachusetts residents to have health care.
Romney’s early support gave way to criticism over the explosive gay marriage issue in Massachusetts. He opposes same-sex marriages and civil unions, yet he backed a proposed state constitutional amendment in 2004 that would have allowed civil unions and banned gay marriage (the amendment failed to pass). He withdrew his support of this amendment, however, in favor of a 2005 petition that banned both. (In 2003, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled that barring gays and lesbians from marrying violates the state constitution.)

2008 Campaign for President

After his term as Massachusetts governor ended in January 2007, Romney formally announced his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination. While Romney was certainly not the first politician from Massachusetts to run for president, he did break the mold of Massachusetts liberal. His campaign was aimed at the conservative wing of the Republican Party. Regardless of his short political career, Romney’s business acumen translated into success in fund-raising, which allowed him to be one of the top contenders for the Republican nomination.
On December 6, 2007, Romney gave a 20-minute speech at the George Bush Presidential Library in Texas to address concerns expressed by many voters about his faith. "I believe in my Mormon faith and endeavor to live by it," said Romney, but he also stressed that his religious views would not affect his ability to be president. Romney was doing well in early voting states, so it was argued he did not need to give a speech about his religion. However, it had been a sensitive issue since he began running for the Republican nomination, and his support began to shift in states like Iowa. Polls showed that Americans would not vote for a Mormon candidate. According to evangelical Christians, who make up a significant amount of Republican votes, Mormonism is heretical.
Many people compared Romney's speech to one made by John F. Kennedy in 1960 about his Roman Catholic faith. Kennedy was trying to convince ministers, who were openly hostile of his faith, that his religion would not affect his governance. Romney, on the other hand, spoke in front of a friendly crowd. In his speech, Romney advocated for religion to take a larger role in American public life. Romney stated that "no candidate should become the spokesman for his faith. For if he becomes president he will need the prayers of the people of all faiths."
Another reason for Romney's "Faith in America" speech was the rise in the polls of Southern Baptist minister and former Governor of Arkansas, Mike Huckabee. Huckabee ran a Christian-themed campaign and, on January 3, 2008, won the Iowa Republican Caucuses, the first contest of the primary season, with 34 percent of the vote. Romney placed second with 25 percent of the vote even though he outspent Huckabee. Both John McCain and Huckabee began attacking Romney for being a flip flopper on issues. Romney stayed in the race through Super Tuesday. On February 7, just two days later, he announced the end of his campaign. At that time McCain was leading Romney in delegates by a margin of more than two-to-one. A week later, Romney endorsed McCain for president.

2012 Campaign for President

On April 11, 2011, Romney announced that he had formed a committee to explore a run for the Republican presidential nomination. In the announcement he said, "It is time that we put America back on a course of greatness, with a growing economy, good jobs, and fiscal discipline in Washington." Romney emerged as the early front-runner in a weak field, though throughout the caucuses and primaries he struggled to consistently beat fellow candidates Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum, leading some pundits to wonder who would come out on top at the end of the race. Romney's greatest hurdle this time out seems to be the Massachusetts health care reform law that he signed as Governor because it closely resembles Obama's national health care law, which Republicans are working to overturn.

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More on Obama:

Barack Obama: Road to the White House

by Liz Olson and Jennie Wood

Barack Obama
Barack Obama

After a historic and bruising 22-monthlong campaign, Sen. Barack Obama was elected the 44th president of the United States on Nov. 4, 2008. He prevailed over Sen. John McCain in what was probably the most pivotal U.S. election since World War II. He took the oath of office on Jan. 20, 2009, and became the first black U.S. president.

Two days into his presidency, Obama reversed some of the most controversial policies of the Bush administration. He signed executive orders that ended the Central Intelligence Agency's secret interrogation program, began the process to close the Guantánamo Bay detention camp, and established a cabinet-level panel that will formulate a plan to detain and question terrorism suspects in the future. Obama's orders said that the C.I.A. can only use the 19 interrogation methods mentioned in the Army Field Manual. The move ended Bush's policy of allowing the CIA to use methods that were not permitted by the military.

"We believe we can abide by a rule that says we don't torture, but we can effectively obtain the intelligence we need," Obama said.

Campaign battle

By taking advantage of the Internet and the power of text messaging on mobile phones, Obama ran an innovative campaign that appealed to young voters. Shunning public financing for his election, Obama raised an unprecedented amount of money, much of it from small donors. Until the financial crisis struck in mid-September, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan dominated the campaign. Obama presented himself as the candidate for change and stressed that a McCain presidency would mirror the policies of the Bush administration.

As a political newcomer, Obama faced an uphill battle in convincing voters that he would be ready to lead the nation. Indeed, throughout the long and often bitter campaign for the Democratic nomination, he and Sen. Hillary Clinton ran neck-and-neck in the primaries and caucuses. Obama and Clinton competed fiercely for the support of working-class voters, and each candidate tried to paint the other as elitist. Obama met sharp criticism for his association with his former pastor, the combative and controversial Rev. Jeremiah Wright. Obama denounced Wright after several of his divisive sermons popped up in the media. Wright's charged statements prompted Obama to address the race issue, and he earned wide praise for his speech on race relations, "A More Perfect Union."

Running as the candidate of change, Obama made hope the center of his campaign. His platform focused on advocating for working families and poor communities, education, caring for the environment, and ethics reform.

Formative Years

Obama was born in Hawaii to a Kenyan father and American mother. His father was raised in a small village in Kenya where he herded goats until he earned a scholarship to study in America. After his parents divorced, Obama's Harvard-educated father then returned to Kenya, where he worked in the economics ministry. Obama was raised by his mother in both Hawaii and Jakarta, Indonesia. He later moved to New York City to attend Columbia University, where he earned his undergraduate degree.

Obama moved to Chicago after college and worked extensively in the inner city to improve living conditions and reduce the unemployment rate in high-crime neighborhoods. He then attended Harvard Law School, graduated magna cum laude, and served as the first African-American president of the Harvard Law Review. After receiving his degree from Harvard Law School, he returned to Chicago and practiced as a civil rights lawyer.

Personal Life

Obama is married to Michelle Obama, a Chicago native who also graduated from Harvard Law School. Barack and Michelle met in Chicago, where they both worked for the law firm Sidley and Austin. Michelle worked in corporate law for three years before pursuing a career in public service. She has worked for the city of Chicago, and she co-founded Public Allies, which helps young adults acquire skills to work in the public sector. In 2005 she was appointed vice president of community and external affairs at the University of Chicago Medical Center. Barack and Michelle have two daughters, Malia Ann and Sasha.

Political Career

His advocacy work on the local level in Chicago led to a run for the Illinois State Senate. Obama served for four years as a state senator and used his position to create programs such as the state Earned Income Tax Credit that provided more than $100 million in tax cuts to families over three years. He also generated an expansion in early childhood education and worked to pass legislation that requires all interrogations and confessions in capital cases to be videotaped.

Obama's eloquent keynote speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention earned him wide praise him and cemented his reputation as one of the party's freshest and most inspirational new faces. In 2004, he was elected to the U.S. Senate, winning with 70% of the vote against the conservative black Republican, Alan Keyes. Obama became the only African-American serving in the U.S. Senate (and the fifth in U.S. history). Obama's idealism, commitment to civil rights, and telegenic good looks generated enormous media attention for his Senate campaign. He worked with Republicans on issues such as weapons control and ethics reform, yet voted with other Democrats against President Bush's surge of 20,000 troops to Iraq and in favor of a resolution that required combat troops to be fully withdrawn by March 2008.

He served on the Senate's Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee; the Foreign Relations Committee; the Veteran's Affairs Committee; and the Environment and Public Works Committee.

2008 Presidential Democratic Candidate Acceptance Speech

Obama accepted the Democratic presidential nomination before some 83,000 people at Invesco Field rather than the convention hall in Denver. His acceptance coincided with the 45th anniversary of the March on Washington, during which Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. gave his pivotal "I Have a Dream" speech. In his speech, Obama attacked John McCain on several fronts, including national security and his support for many of the policies of the Bush administration, and outlined his plans for the economy, the environment, and health care. Calling McCain out of touch with the economic woes of working-class America, Obama said, "It's not because John McCain doesn't care. It's because John McCain doesn't get it."

Obama's Presidency

Obama took office in the midst of a severe recession for the U.S. economy. His first major piece of legislative was the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, a $787 billion spending bill, or "stimulus package," designed to create jobs and reignite the economy. He also acted quickly to bring about the change from the policies of the Bush administration that he had promised during the campaign. Two days after his inauguration he signed an executive order to close the controversial detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba within the year. Soon to follow were executive orders that reversed Bush's policies on stem cell research and interrogation techniques for enemy detainees.

In 2009, Obama pushed Congress to pass legislation on health care reform in the United States. Health care reform was a chief legislative goal and a major campaign promise. After months of debate, on March 21, 2010, the health care bill, which was passed by the Senate in December 2009, was passed by the House. The vote in the House was 219 to 212. On March 23, 2010, Obama signed the bill into law. In the November 2010 election, the Democrats lost 63 seats, therefore, losing control of the House of Representatives. In a speech about the election outcome, Obama called the loss "humbling" and blamed it on the slow economic recovery. The following summer, Congress became gridlocked in a battle over whether to raise the debt ceiling, causing the government to almost default. Because of the gridlock, Standard & Poor's downgraded the nation's credit rating for the first time in history. In August 2011, there were signs that the recovery from the 2008 recession had stalled with job growth continuing to come up short, the unemployment rate hovering at just over 9 %, and the stock market experiencing wild ups and downs. All of this giving fuel to the Republican presidential candidates as they headed out on the campaign trail to fight for the chance to run against Obama in 2012.

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Mitt Romney: 2012 Campaign Issues

Mitt Romney
Mitt Romney

Where he stands


  • Supports the goals of the House Republican budget plan that seeks to reduce spending by cutting Medicare and other federal programs, but would not say if he would sign the plan as president.
  • Suggests gaining control over entitlement spending on Social Security and Medicare once the economy is revived.
  • Has stated that he will repeal President Obama's health care law if elected.


  • Criticizes the Obama spending bill, saying it will only stimulate the government, not the economy.
  • Believes a well-crafted stimulus plan is needed to put people back to work and that permanent tax cuts should be at the center of the stimulus plan.
  • Believes in the principle behind Reaganomics: cutting taxes brings economic growth.
  • Supports a budget that cuts payroll taxes for people aged sixty-five and older as well as cutting taxes on people earning less than $200,000 a year, including reducing taxes on savings and investment.
  • Supports a national catastrophic fund to cover home owners insurance in the event of natural disasters like hurricanes and tornadoes.
  • Opposes the estate tax.
  • Believes only private sector entrepreneurs will create the millions of jobs that the U.S. needs.
  • Endorses eliminating the minimum wage.
  • For placing sanctions on China.
  • Wants to cut the corporate tax rate.


  • Opposes allowing illegal immigrants to have driver's licenses.
  • Opposes amnesty or permanent legalization for illegal aliens.
  • Opposes temporary legalization for illegal aliens as guest workers.
  • Believes illegal immigrants should go home and sign up for permanent citizenship within a set time frame.
  • Believes employers who are employing illegal immigrants should be subject to sanctions, but not face imprisonment.
  • Supports scholarships and tuitions for illegal immigrants, including scholarships funded by taxpayers.
  • Opposes the Z visa that allows illegal immigrants to continue living in the U.S. for 13 years before they are able to become citizens. He believes that this is unfair to applicants waiting to enter the country through the proper procedure.


  • Does not believe in establishing mandates, but believes the United States should use innovation to further develop alternative energy sources such as nuclear energy, biodiesel, and ethanol to help use energy more efficiently.
  • Believes in exploring domestic resources for oil such as Outer Continental Shelf and Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to decrease our dependence on oil rich countries.
  • Vows, if elected, to make it easier for American companies to drill for oil in the United States.
  • Against the Kyoto Protocol, believing that the U.S. will lose jobs because of it.

Foreign Policy

  • Romney's foreign policy has two main issues: competing with Asia economically and defeating the Jihadists.
  • To compete with Asia, Romney wants the U.S. to open up its market even further by reducing the tariffs, decreasing corporate taxes, and easing up on immigration laws to take advantage of highly skilled workers.
  • To defeat Jihadists, Romney wants to use military options and work with local populations in nations where terrorists are living. He also wants to use diplomacy and involve regional and international players in the fight against terrorists.
  • Accused President Obama of throwing "Israel under the bus" after Obama called for a two-state solution that should start with Israel's 1967 borders as a guide to the formation of a Palestinian state.
  • Requested that Arab states stop providing financial support and weapons to Hamas and Hezbollah.
  • Wants Arab states to put pressure on the Palestinians to stop terrorism and recognize Israel's right to exist.
  • Often cites former President Jimmy Carter's view in regard to bringing peace to the Israel/Palestine conflict and believes the opposite. For Romney, the wall, checkpoints, and other security measures are helping to prevent violence and bloodshed.
  • Believes that Iran is a serious threat to the U.S. and wants to use economic sanctions and other measures to assure that Iran does not develop a nuclear arsenal. Has said a military strike against Iran is an option if it pursues a nuclear weapon, but prefers to exercise other options, such as tough sanctions, first.

Same-sex marriage

  • Strongly feels same-sex marriage would destroy the culture of America, as well as damage children and the education system.
  • Personally believes that Americans should be respectful of all people and their sexual orientation, but that the institution of marriage should be upheld.
  • Supports neither same-sex marriage nor civil unions.
  • Supported the Federal Marriage Amendment which would have modified the U.S. Constitution, prohibiting same-sex marriage.

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Barack Obama: 2012 Campaign Issues

Barack Obama
Barack Obama

Where he stands


  • Will focus on continuing to stimulate the economy by creating new jobs and investing in health care, education, energy, and infrastructure
  • Increase alternative energy production, modernize and weatherize buildings and homes, expand broadband technology, and computerize the health care system. Obama has said these measures will create some 3.5 million jobs
  • Supports the Making Home Affordable Modification program to prevent foreclosures and the Making Home Affordable Refinancing program to restructure loans to keep people in their homes
  • Has demanded accountability and transparency from banks and other financial institutions
  • Plans to create a financial regulatory system that makes executives in the financial market accountable for their actions and prevents fraud
  • Will work to make the tax system more fair to working families and the middle class and eliminate loopholes that benefit the wealthy
  • Has promised to simplify the tax code


  • Supports additional personnel, infrastructure, and technology on the border and at our ports of entry
  • Believes it is impractical to deport the 12 million immigrants living in the U.S. and supports the Dream Act, which would allow children of immigrants who are in good standing with the law access to higher education
  • Create a legal immigration system
  • Increase the number of legal immigrants to keep families together and meet the demand for jobs that employers cannot fill
  • Crack down on employers who hire undocumented immigrants
  • Supports a system that allows undocumented immigrants who are in good standing to pay a fine, learn English, and go to the back of the line for the opportunity to become citizens


  • Decrease the country's reliance on fossil fuels and increase use of renewable sources of energy. Obama says he will invest $150 billion over the next 10 years to develop new technology for the production of biofuels and renewable energy
  • Would like to reduce carbon emissions by 80% by 2050
  • Says he would pursue clean coal technology to reduce the reliance on imported oil

Foreign Policy

Israeli-Palestinian conflict:
    • Called for a two-state solution that should start with Israel's 1967 borders, with mutually agreed upon land swaps, as a guide to the formation of a Palestinian state
    • Said the U.S. will veto Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas's request for statehood at the UN Security Council
    • Has expressed U.S. commitment to Israel's security.
  • Obama the U.S. will not allow Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon, but has warned of "too much loose talk of war." He does not support a policy of containment for Iran.
  • Announced that U.S. troops will be withdrawn from Afghanistan by the end of 2014.
  • The president has made reducing the number of nuclear weapons a primary goal, with a focus on keeping such weapons out of the hands of terrorists.

Same-sex Marriage

  • Supported the repeal of "Don't Ask Don't Tell"

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