Rich-Joseph Facun, Associated Press
WASHINGTON — A look at where Democratic President Barack Obama and Republican presidential rival 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 ruling. But says Roe v. 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: His pledge to cut the deficit "we inherited" in half by end of first term is a mark likely to be missed by a wide margin. The deficit when he took office was $1.2 trillion, and the $800 billion stimulus bill Obama signed soon afterward increased the shortfall to more than $1.4 trillion. The White House predicts this year's federal budget deficit will end up at $1.2 trillion, marking the fourth consecutive year of trillion dollar-plus red ink. Now promises to cut projected deficits by $4 trillion over 10 years, a goal that will require Congress to raise the capital gains tax, boost taxes on households earning more than $250,000 a year and impose a minimum 30 percent tax on incomes above $1 million. The target also assumes a reduction in the amount of interest the government must pay on its debt and incorporates $1 trillion in cuts already signed into law. Nation's debt surpassed $16 trillion this year. Federal spending is estimated at 23.5 percent of gross domestic product this year, up from about 20 percent in the previous administration, and is forecast to decline to 21.8 percent by 2016. Reached agreement with congressional Republicans to cut $487 billion in military spending over a decade.
Romney: Promises to cut $500 billion per year from the federal budget by 2016 to bring spending below 20 percent of the U.S. economy and to balance it by 2020, but vital specifics are lacking. At the same time would increase military spending, reverse $716 billion in Medicare cuts and cut taxes. Defended 2008 bailout of financial institutions as a necessary step to avoid the system's collapse, opposed the bailout of General Motors and Chrysler. 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 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.
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