Wisconsin polls closed at 9PM EST. Follow along here for the latest news and results.
Romney’s official campaign website has a prominent section on government regulations entitled “Obama’s Failure,” which blasts the EPA for “endless new regulations touching on countless other forms of economic activity—regulations that drive up costs, hinder investment, and destroy jobs. Romney has added that “there are other people who would like to put in place a cap-and-trade program and dramatically increase the cost of energy. That’s their view. And by the way, that would kill a lot of jobs.”
Leavitt has a rather opposite record. In his introductory address to his EPA employees, enthusiastically endorsed a cap-and-trade, telling them:
We need to take the giant step toward national market-based solutions; to do that we need only look to our own experience. That is exactly what we’re doing with cap and trade. The cap and trade strategy was key to the breakthrough against acid rain. It is central to Clear Skies. The cap and trade approach shows us again and again that people do more and they do it faster when they have an incentive to do what’s in the public’s interest.
And, a ThinkProgress analysis of Regulations.gov data reveals that between Leavitt’s first day as administrator to his last, the agency promulgated or amended 232 regulatory rules. These
included tougher standards for ozone, diesel fuels, and other air pollutants. Among these were things like National Ambient Air Quality Standards for Particulate Matter, National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants for Asbestos, and Protection of Stratospheric Ozone; Refrigerant Recycling; Substitute Refrigerants — the sorts of regulations Romney says “drive up costs, hinder investment, and destroy jobs.”
Given their opposite views on these issues and Leavitt’s strong support of ObamaCare, he seems a surprising choice to lead Romney’s transition.
Madison City Clerk: Turnout Is On Pace To Reach 119% | A local reporter in Wisconsin is reporting record turnout in Madison:
Madison City Clerk tells me turnout is on pace to hit 119% in Madison, adding “That would be unprecedented.”
— Amy at WTDY(@AmyBarrilleaux) June 5, 2012
Turnout in excess of 100% is possible because Wisconsin allows same-day voter registration. The numbers suggest that many people are registering at the polls. Heavy turnout in Madison, a liberal stronghold, would likely benefit Democrat Tom Barrett.
REPORT: Heavy turnout in Milwaukee prompts officials to call in extra poll workers | The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has the story: “Heavy turnout in Milwaukee led the city Election Commission to call out the reserves Tuesday…The backup workers were needed to handle long lines, partly because a significant number of new voters were registering at the polls.” Strong turnout in Milwaukee could be a positive sign for Democrat Tom Barrett, who is the city’s mayor.
The Wall Street Journal has uncovered a collection of emails from Mitt Romney’s time as Governor of Massachusetts that reveal a lot about Romney’s changing positions on health care. Most notably, they show the now-candidate once was a staunch defender of a health reform law with an individual mandate — a portion of the Affordable Care Act that he often criticizes.
According to the emails, Mr. Romney personally drafted an op-ed article published in The Wall Street Journal the day before he signed the legislation. The draft, written on a Saturday, also defended the individual mandate, in different language from the final version of the piece as published.
Using an argument deployed today by the Obama administration, Mr. Romney defended the mandate by noting that taxpayers generally foot the bill when the uninsured seek health care.
“Either the individual pays or the taxpayers pay. A free ride on government is not libertarian,” the published op-ed stated. In a line that didn’t make the edited version, Mr. Romney added: “An uninsured libertarian might counter that he could refuse the free care, but under law, that is impossible—and inhumane.”
During this election season, Romney has said he would strike down Obamacare — a federal replica of his state plan — but may preserve some of the portions of the law intact. That is in itself a change from his 2010 position that the nation should adopt an individual mandate. But these emails reveal that Romney did not just consider an individual mandate useful to Masscusetts, he considered it essential to a functional health care law — precisely what the Supreme Court is now debating.