In March, Mitt Romney demanded “President Obama needs to level with the American public about his real agenda.” But on numerous topics, Romney has refused to answer basic questions about his views, leaving voters to guess at where he stands on important issues. Romney’s ambiguity appears to be a calculated strategy to avoid alienating the conservative base or moderate swing voters. If he’s successful in avoiding articulating policy positions, he can market himself as the “generic Republican” alternative to President Obama.
Here are seven major issues on which Romney has refused to take a stand:
1. Romney won’t say whether he would undo Obama’s decision to end deportations of DREAM-eligible immigrants. Romney and his campaign passed up numerous opportunities over the weekend to say whether he agreed with the substance of the Obama administration’s order to stop deporting some young undocumented immigrants and whether a President Romney would rescind the order, saying only, “We’ll look at that — we’ll look at that setting as we– as we reach that.”
2. Romney won’t say whether he’d support the Paycheck Fairness Act. Romney repeatedly dodged questions about whether he’d support the Paycheck Fairness Act, a bill to crack down on wage discrimination and close the wage gap between men and women. His campaign didn’t respond to five requests by the conservative Washington Times seeking his stance on the bill.
3. Romney won’t specify which tax loopholes he’d close. Asked yesterday which tax deductions he would eliminate to offset his massive proposed tax-cuts for the rich, Romney refused to offer any specifics on a plan that he has admitted is so vague it cannot even be scored, saying only, “We’ll go through that process with Congress.”
4. Romney won’t say which federal agencies he’d eliminate. At a private fundraiser, Romney reportedly told donors he would eliminate or combine “a lot of departments in Washington,” but that he was “probably not going to lay out just exactly which ones are going to go.” Why? Because he feared telling the voters his plans before the election might hurt his political chances, just as it did in his 1994 Senate race.
5. Romney won’t say whether he supports the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. Romney’s campaign refused to say whether he would have signed the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, a law that helps women hold employers accountable for discriminating in the pay practices based on gender. Romney said, “I’m not going to go back and look at all the prior laws and say had I been there which ones would I have supported and signed.”
6. Romney won’t say whether he’d support full reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act. Offering only general support for renewal of the Violence Against Women Act, Romney would not specify whether he supported the bipartisan Senate version or the GOP House rolllback bill. His spokeswoman said only that he “hopes [the bill] can be reauthorized without turning it into a political football.”
7. Romney won’t say whether say whether he’d eliminate the “carried interest” tax break for private equity partners. Romney’s campaign has refused to answer questions about whether he supports eliminating the “carried interest” tax break for private equity partners, even when asked directly, saying only that we should probably “take a close look at to see if we’re treating capital gains as capital gains or are we treating, in some cases, carried interest as capital gains when it’s more like ordinary income.”
Whether or not Romney can continue to campaign while avoiding taking a position on so many important issues depends on the how the media reacts. There are dozens of reporters following Romney every day. They can choose to either give him a pass on these important policy issues or continue asking him until he provides an answer.
Romney also won’t say whether he agrees with the Supreme Court’s decision on Arizona’s immigration law.